It was summer in the Mekong Delta. Miles of rice paddies, crisscrossed by canals, lay under humid, motionless air. Midday temperatures were 110 degrees. I was in the provincial hospital in Bac Lieu, South Viet Nam, located 120 miles southwest of Saigon, on the southeastern coast of that war-torn country. Not far to the west lay the U Minh forest, sanctuary of the Viet Cong.
I had flown to Viet Nam the month before. I was one of a group of the American Medical Association's Volunteer Physicians for Viet Nam. Dr Meritt Stark, a Denver pediatrician, and I had been assigned to go to Bac Lieu, a city of 60,000 people. He was a pediatrician and I was a surgeon. We were to work with the Vietnamese chef du medicin Dr Nguyen Thu Vinh and the US Army doctors of the 51st Advisory Team. The only American troops in Bac
Redman JC. A Wet Mouse. JAMA. 1984;252(7):901. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350070019016