In April 1992, a handful of young physicians, not one of them
a surgeon, was trapped along with 50,000 men, women, and children
in the embattled enclave of Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. There
the doctors faced the most intense professional, ethical, and
personal predicaments of their lives.
Drawing on extensive interviews, documents, and recorded
materials she collected over four and a half years, doctor and
journalist Sheri Fink tells the harrowing--and ultimately
enlightening--story of these physicians and the three who try to
help them: an idealistic internist from Doctors without Borders,
who hopes that interposition of international aid workers will help
prevent a massacre; an aspiring Bosnian surgeon willing to walk
through minefields to reach the civilian wounded; and a Serb doctor
on the opposite side of the front line with the army that is intent
on destroying his former colleagues.
With limited resources and a makeshift hospital overflowing with
patients, how can these doctors decide who to save and who to let
die? Will their duty to treat patients come into conflict with
their own struggle to survive? And are there times when medical and
humanitarian aid ironically prolong war and human suffering rather
than helping to relieve it?