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On Being a Doctor |

Hibakusha

William J. Hall, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY 14620.


Requests for Single Reprints: William J. Hall, MD, Highland Hospital, 1000 South Avenue, Box 58, Rochester, NY 14620; e-mail, William_Hall@urmc.rochester.edu.


Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(3):241-242. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-3-200802050-00011
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The clinic is at the summit of Hijiyama Hill, one of the highest elevations overlooking the city of Hiroshima. Halfway up the winding road, I pass a turnout that had been a favorite site for reconnaissance teams to obtain the first panoramic photographs of the city in August 1945. The 7 branches of the Ota River, demarcating the 6 island neighborhoods of the city, are starkly visible in those old pictures, as if on a topographical map. Not a building had been left standing seconds after “Little Boy” detonated 580 meters over the city. Since then the city has been rebuilt, but last night from this vantage point the branches of the Ota were again visible, illuminated by thousands of flickering candles floating down the tidal estuary as they have every year on the anniversary of the blast. I enter the military-style Quonset huts of the clinic to see my first patient.

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