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Tracy Kidder's critically acclaimed adult nonfiction work, Mountains Beyond Mountains has been adapted for young people by Michael French. In this young adult edition, readers are introduced to Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard-educated doctor with a self-proclaimed mission to transform healthcare on a global scale. Farmer focuses his attention on some of the world's most impoverished people and uses unconventional ways in which to provide healthcare, to achieve real results and save lives.




From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Apr 9, 2013
ISBN: 9780307980885
List price: $8.99
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Paul Farmer is a rather unique man. He started a hospital in Haiti where they have one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western Hemisphere (~50 years). He teaches at Brigham and Women's in Boston for a small fraction of the year, then donates the rest of his time to Haiti, walking for hours to visit patients and funneling charitable funding towards buying AIDS and TB medications for the people there. He now teaches in Boston, practices in Boston, Haiti, Peru, and Siberia, and works on health policy to change the bureaucratic obstacles to improving health for the poor. He is utterly tireless, doesn't sleep, doesn't hardly see his family, and doesn't seem to mind. He writes his full paycheck over to his organization every year. The patient is paramount. It is a martyr's job, but effective. Here's one example:In Peru they started a program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At one point they couldn't get funding because the WHO kept saying "hey, it's too expensive!" while the pharmaceutical companies kept saying, "well, there's no market!" No market for expensive drugs whose patents had already expired because the thousands of people with MDR-TB did't have enough money to buy them. Solution? They went to the pharmaceutical companies and said "Hey, we'll buy your drugs if we can negotiate a lower price!" Result? 97% decrease in cost. Basically, instead of leaving the last 10% to die in ignominy they found a way to save every one, or at least every one that could be saved with the best medicines in the world (not just the best medicines in Haiti/Peru/Siberia). And now *voila* treating MDR is no longer beyond WHO's funding. How easy was that?! In some ways Farmer's story is inspiring. Here he is giving every waking hour to his work. If you say you can't ask that of everyone, he'll just say "Why not?" While there is an inequity in the world he figures everyone should spend every moment working to change that. It's a hard business model to sell but obviously has the moral high ground. He feels that you have to try to save every patient, even if that means spending $25,000 on drugs, even if that means medevacing a kid to Boston MGH to have open heart surgery. And then you start to think, well, that's morally pure, but I'm not entirely sure that works. He is anti-utilitarian. There's no such thing as the greater good. Everyone's good is just as great. In his mind, you can't say "don't spend this money on this child because you could be providing pre-natal care to 150 women." And I wonder at that. I'm sorry, but I'm a statistician, not a clinician, and I wonder. I cannot deny that his pressure on drug companies for TB medications has been a win-win situation. Will that same tactic bring down the cost of medical procedures, too? By providing all possible medical technology to everyone in his care, does that mean that eventually all medical care can be supplied to everyone. Is that even possible? (You can see I'd make a terrible saint. I ask the question "Is that possible?")His work obviously makes me question myself and how much I would give. I couldn't work the way he works. I am willing to spend years of my life abroad, but not the majority of my years. I am willing to take less pay in order to do greater good, but not no pay. I am willing to work overtime, but I still want to be able to see my family from time to time. That's just my choice. Clearly, he has made the right choice for him. He has a calling, as few people have. I can only hope that I find something that suits me and to which I am suited even half as well as he is suited to be a jet-setting innovative rural doctor. And I cannot deny that there is a lot of work to be done. There is poverty and there is abject misery throughout this world. Now I just have to figure out how I, not being Paul Farmer, can help.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An interesting glimpse into the life of a very selfless being. I am amazed by this Farmer guy. We need to clone him many times over. The book is a great read, until the end. The book attempts to close with a real life anecdote, but it doesn't fit in the chronology of the story. If I was Kidder, I'd have a hard time closing this story too.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Paul Farmer is a rather unique man. He started a hospital in Haiti where they have one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western Hemisphere (~50 years). He teaches at Brigham and Women's in Boston for a small fraction of the year, then donates the rest of his time to Haiti, walking for hours to visit patients and funneling charitable funding towards buying AIDS and TB medications for the people there. He now teaches in Boston, practices in Boston, Haiti, Peru, and Siberia, and works on health policy to change the bureaucratic obstacles to improving health for the poor. He is utterly tireless, doesn't sleep, doesn't hardly see his family, and doesn't seem to mind. He writes his full paycheck over to his organization every year. The patient is paramount. It is a martyr's job, but effective. Here's one example:In Peru they started a program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At one point they couldn't get funding because the WHO kept saying "hey, it's too expensive!" while the pharmaceutical companies kept saying, "well, there's no market!" No market for expensive drugs whose patents had already expired because the thousands of people with MDR-TB did't have enough money to buy them. Solution? They went to the pharmaceutical companies and said "Hey, we'll buy your drugs if we can negotiate a lower price!" Result? 97% decrease in cost. Basically, instead of leaving the last 10% to die in ignominy they found a way to save every one, or at least every one that could be saved with the best medicines in the world (not just the best medicines in Haiti/Peru/Siberia). And now *voila* treating MDR is no longer beyond WHO's funding. How easy was that?! In some ways Farmer's story is inspiring. Here he is giving every waking hour to his work. If you say you can't ask that of everyone, he'll just say "Why not?" While there is an inequity in the world he figures everyone should spend every moment working to change that. It's a hard business model to sell but obviously has the moral high ground. He feels that you have to try to save every patient, even if that means spending $25,000 on drugs, even if that means medevacing a kid to Boston MGH to have open heart surgery. And then you start to think, well, that's morally pure, but I'm not entirely sure that works. He is anti-utilitarian. There's no such thing as the greater good. Everyone's good is just as great. In his mind, you can't say "don't spend this money on this child because you could be providing pre-natal care to 150 women." And I wonder at that. I'm sorry, but I'm a statistician, not a clinician, and I wonder. I cannot deny that his pressure on drug companies for TB medications has been a win-win situation. Will that same tactic bring down the cost of medical procedures, too? By providing all possible medical technology to everyone in his care, does that mean that eventually all medical care can be supplied to everyone. Is that even possible? (You can see I'd make a terrible saint. I ask the question "Is that possible?")His work obviously makes me question myself and how much I would give. I couldn't work the way he works. I am willing to spend years of my life abroad, but not the majority of my years. I am willing to take less pay in order to do greater good, but not no pay. I am willing to work overtime, but I still want to be able to see my family from time to time. That's just my choice. Clearly, he has made the right choice for him. He has a calling, as few people have. I can only hope that I find something that suits me and to which I am suited even half as well as he is suited to be a jet-setting innovative rural doctor. And I cannot deny that there is a lot of work to be done. There is poverty and there is abject misery throughout this world. Now I just have to figure out how I, not being Paul Farmer, can help.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Paul Farmer is a rather unique man. He started a hospital in Haiti where they have one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western Hemisphere (~50 years). He teaches at Brigham and Women's in Boston for a small fraction of the year, then donates the rest of his time to Haiti, walking for hours to visit patients and funneling charitable funding towards buying AIDS and TB medications for the people there. He now teaches in Boston, practices in Boston, Haiti, Peru, and Siberia, and works on health policy to change the bureaucratic obstacles to improving health for the poor. He is utterly tireless, doesn't sleep, doesn't hardly see his family, and doesn't seem to mind. He writes his full paycheck over to his organization every year. The patient is paramount. It is a martyr's job, but effective. Here's one example:In Peru they started a program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At one point they couldn't get funding because the WHO kept saying "hey, it's too expensive!" while the pharmaceutical companies kept saying, "well, there's no market!" No market for expensive drugs whose patents had already expired because the thousands of people with MDR-TB did't have enough money to buy them. Solution? They went to the pharmaceutical companies and said "Hey, we'll buy your drugs if we can negotiate a lower price!" Result? 97% decrease in cost. Basically, instead of leaving the last 10% to die in ignominy they found a way to save every one, or at least every one that could be saved with the best medicines in the world (not just the best medicines in Haiti/Peru/Siberia). And now *voila* treating MDR is no longer beyond WHO's funding. How easy was that?! In some ways Farmer's story is inspiring. Here he is giving every waking hour to his work. If you say you can't ask that of everyone, he'll just say "Why not?" While there is an inequity in the world he figures everyone should spend every moment working to change that. It's a hard business model to sell but obviously has the moral high ground. He feels that you have to try to save every patient, even if that means spending $25,000 on drugs, even if that means medevacing a kid to Boston MGH to have open heart surgery. And then you start to think, well, that's morally pure, but I'm not entirely sure that works. He is anti-utilitarian. There's no such thing as the greater good. Everyone's good is just as great. In his mind, you can't say "don't spend this money on this child because you could be providing pre-natal care to 150 women." And I wonder at that. I'm sorry, but I'm a statistician, not a clinician, and I wonder. I cannot deny that his pressure on drug companies for TB medications has been a win-win situation. Will that same tactic bring down the cost of medical procedures, too? By providing all possible medical technology to everyone in his care, does that mean that eventually all medical care can be supplied to everyone. Is that even possible? (You can see I'd make a terrible saint. I ask the question "Is that possible?")His work obviously makes me question myself and how much I would give. I couldn't work the way he works. I am willing to spend years of my life abroad, but not the majority of my years. I am willing to take less pay in order to do greater good, but not no pay. I am willing to work overtime, but I still want to be able to see my family from time to time. That's just my choice. Clearly, he has made the right choice for him. He has a calling, as few people have. I can only hope that I find something that suits me and to which I am suited even half as well as he is suited to be a jet-setting innovative rural doctor. And I cannot deny that there is a lot of work to be done. There is poverty and there is abject misery throughout this world. Now I just have to figure out how I, not being Paul Farmer, can help.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An interesting glimpse into the life of a very selfless being. I am amazed by this Farmer guy. We need to clone him many times over. The book is a great read, until the end. The book attempts to close with a real life anecdote, but it doesn't fit in the chronology of the story. If I was Kidder, I'd have a hard time closing this story too.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Paul Farmer is a rather unique man. He started a hospital in Haiti where they have one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western Hemisphere (~50 years). He teaches at Brigham and Women's in Boston for a small fraction of the year, then donates the rest of his time to Haiti, walking for hours to visit patients and funneling charitable funding towards buying AIDS and TB medications for the people there. He now teaches in Boston, practices in Boston, Haiti, Peru, and Siberia, and works on health policy to change the bureaucratic obstacles to improving health for the poor. He is utterly tireless, doesn't sleep, doesn't hardly see his family, and doesn't seem to mind. He writes his full paycheck over to his organization every year. The patient is paramount. It is a martyr's job, but effective. Here's one example:In Peru they started a program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At one point they couldn't get funding because the WHO kept saying "hey, it's too expensive!" while the pharmaceutical companies kept saying, "well, there's no market!" No market for expensive drugs whose patents had already expired because the thousands of people with MDR-TB did't have enough money to buy them. Solution? They went to the pharmaceutical companies and said "Hey, we'll buy your drugs if we can negotiate a lower price!" Result? 97% decrease in cost. Basically, instead of leaving the last 10% to die in ignominy they found a way to save every one, or at least every one that could be saved with the best medicines in the world (not just the best medicines in Haiti/Peru/Siberia). And now *voila* treating MDR is no longer beyond WHO's funding. How easy was that?! In some ways Farmer's story is inspiring. Here he is giving every waking hour to his work. If you say you can't ask that of everyone, he'll just say "Why not?" While there is an inequity in the world he figures everyone should spend every moment working to change that. It's a hard business model to sell but obviously has the moral high ground. He feels that you have to try to save every patient, even if that means spending $25,000 on drugs, even if that means medevacing a kid to Boston MGH to have open heart surgery. And then you start to think, well, that's morally pure, but I'm not entirely sure that works. He is anti-utilitarian. There's no such thing as the greater good. Everyone's good is just as great. In his mind, you can't say "don't spend this money on this child because you could be providing pre-natal care to 150 women." And I wonder at that. I'm sorry, but I'm a statistician, not a clinician, and I wonder. I cannot deny that his pressure on drug companies for TB medications has been a win-win situation. Will that same tactic bring down the cost of medical procedures, too? By providing all possible medical technology to everyone in his care, does that mean that eventually all medical care can be supplied to everyone. Is that even possible? (You can see I'd make a terrible saint. I ask the question "Is that possible?")His work obviously makes me question myself and how much I would give. I couldn't work the way he works. I am willing to spend years of my life abroad, but not the majority of my years. I am willing to take less pay in order to do greater good, but not no pay. I am willing to work overtime, but I still want to be able to see my family from time to time. That's just my choice. Clearly, he has made the right choice for him. He has a calling, as few people have. I can only hope that I find something that suits me and to which I am suited even half as well as he is suited to be a jet-setting innovative rural doctor. And I cannot deny that there is a lot of work to be done. There is poverty and there is abject misery throughout this world. Now I just have to figure out how I, not being Paul Farmer, can help.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Paul Farmer is a rather unique man. He started a hospital in Haiti where they have one of the lowest life expectancies in the Western Hemisphere (~50 years). He teaches at Brigham and Women's in Boston for a small fraction of the year, then donates the rest of his time to Haiti, walking for hours to visit patients and funneling charitable funding towards buying AIDS and TB medications for the people there. He now teaches in Boston, practices in Boston, Haiti, Peru, and Siberia, and works on health policy to change the bureaucratic obstacles to improving health for the poor. He is utterly tireless, doesn't sleep, doesn't hardly see his family, and doesn't seem to mind. He writes his full paycheck over to his organization every year. The patient is paramount. It is a martyr's job, but effective. Here's one example:In Peru they started a program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). At one point they couldn't get funding because the WHO kept saying "hey, it's too expensive!" while the pharmaceutical companies kept saying, "well, there's no market!" No market for expensive drugs whose patents had already expired because the thousands of people with MDR-TB did't have enough money to buy them. Solution? They went to the pharmaceutical companies and said "Hey, we'll buy your drugs if we can negotiate a lower price!" Result? 97% decrease in cost. Basically, instead of leaving the last 10% to die in ignominy they found a way to save every one, or at least every one that could be saved with the best medicines in the world (not just the best medicines in Haiti/Peru/Siberia). And now *voila* treating MDR is no longer beyond WHO's funding. How easy was that?! In some ways Farmer's story is inspiring. Here he is giving every waking hour to his work. If you say you can't ask that of everyone, he'll just say "Why not?" While there is an inequity in the world he figures everyone should spend every moment working to change that. It's a hard business model to sell but obviously has the moral high ground. He feels that you have to try to save every patient, even if that means spending $25,000 on drugs, even if that means medevacing a kid to Boston MGH to have open heart surgery. And then you start to think, well, that's morally pure, but I'm not entirely sure that works. He is anti-utilitarian. There's no such thing as the greater good. Everyone's good is just as great. In his mind, you can't say "don't spend this money on this child because you could be providing pre-natal care to 150 women." And I wonder at that. I'm sorry, but I'm a statistician, not a clinician, and I wonder. I cannot deny that his pressure on drug companies for TB medications has been a win-win situation. Will that same tactic bring down the cost of medical procedures, too? By providing all possible medical technology to everyone in his care, does that mean that eventually all medical care can be supplied to everyone. Is that even possible? (You can see I'd make a terrible saint. I ask the question "Is that possible?")His work obviously makes me question myself and how much I would give. I couldn't work the way he works. I am willing to spend years of my life abroad, but not the majority of my years. I am willing to take less pay in order to do greater good, but not no pay. I am willing to work overtime, but I still want to be able to see my family from time to time. That's just my choice. Clearly, he has made the right choice for him. He has a calling, as few people have. I can only hope that I find something that suits me and to which I am suited even half as well as he is suited to be a jet-setting innovative rural doctor. And I cannot deny that there is a lot of work to be done. There is poverty and there is abject misery throughout this world. Now I just have to figure out how I, not being Paul Farmer, can help.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An interesting glimpse into the life of a very selfless being. I am amazed by this Farmer guy. We need to clone him many times over. The book is a great read, until the end. The book attempts to close with a real life anecdote, but it doesn't fit in the chronology of the story. If I was Kidder, I'd have a hard time closing this story too.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An interesting glimpse into the life of a very selfless being. I am amazed by this Farmer guy. We need to clone him many times over. The book is a great read, until the end. The book attempts to close with a real life anecdote, but it doesn't fit in the chronology of the story. If I was Kidder, I'd have a hard time closing this story too.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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