Blood on my hands: A surgeon at war

Appalled by the horrific, nightly TV images he witnessed during the 1998 Kosovo/Serbian “ethnic cleansing” conflict, showing columns of refugees, roads littered with burning vehicles, broken bodies in ditches, piles of corpses, Australian Craig Jurisevic (a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Royal Adelaide hospital), felt he had to respond to the United Nations call for volunteer field medical staff.

Written with the help of the award-winning fiction and biography author Robert Hillman, this is an incredibly powerful book, documenting Jurisevic’s gradual but inevitable progression from helping to patch up the battle-maimed victims (both soldiers and civilians) behind the front line in Kosovo, to joining the Kosovo Liberation Army itself in battle, as both medic and (reluctant) participant.

Jurisevic’s story details the horrors of war to show why he felt so morally offended at both the corruption and the senselessness of what he witnessed and experienced. As a doctor his first concern was to save all the lives he could, but when he spoke to a journalist who published his story, his own life was put at risk and he could no longer remain impartial.

Detailed review from “The Australian”, May, 2010.

Mr F


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