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March 13, 1987

Working Nights, Khao I Dang

Author Affiliations

West Hartford, Conn

West Hartford, Conn

JAMA. 1987;257(10):1380. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390100118037

They say that Khao I Dang is going to close this year.

They said it then, too.

A Khmer teenager was one of the first to be seen in the emergency room that night in 1983. His hands grasped the hard edges of the wooden hospital bed, and his eyes scanned the faces of those around him as he writhed slowly in a circle of staff and friends. His friends had brought him from the soccer field. According to them, the ball had hit him in the stomach and now he had stomach pains.

This was the Khao I Dang night shift. In a quietly seething camp of 40 000 people, we were the officially awake. The others, Cambodians in Thailand, lay in darkness within the perimeter. Only we and the guards could move along the deserted camp streets. We were alone, except for the brushfires on the mountain, which