Book Review: Mountains Beyond Mountains

"The world is full of miserable places; one way to live comfortably is not to think about them or, when you do, to send money" writes Tracy Kidder.  Dr. Paul Farmer does nothing of the sort.  Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains takes readers from Harvard to Haiti, Peru and Cuba, trekking alongside Dr. Paul Farmer and enduring less than adequate living conditions in his quest to aid the medically underserved.

Paul Farmer visited Haiti after his college graduation and was appalled by the conditions he saw.  He witnessed hunger and disease of horrifying proportions.  Although some medical providers were visiting Haiti to provide medical care temporarily, they eventually returned home making little impact in the needy country.  While in medical school, Farmer began to spend time in Haiti beginning a lifetime of service.  His classmates referred to him as Paul the Foreigner noting he would miss classes and show up only in time for exams. 

Haiti's health care is Farmer's mission in life.  He founded a hospital, Zanmi Lasante, in Cange, Haiti where he spends months every year caring for patients.  Stamping out tuberculosis in Haiti is one of his most significant feats.  Farmer carefully tracked his patients who would often travel for days to seek treatment.  If a patient missed an appointment for tuberculosis treatment, Farmer would then make the arduous trek to find his patient bringing their medication along.  

As a nurse practitioner, you will find Mountains Beyond Mountains endlessly inspirational.  Farmer's enthusiasm for his work, rigorous lifestyle and unyielding devotion to his patients is uplifting.  This powerful book will fill you with hope and amazement and show you how one person really can change the world.