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Scalpel and The Kukri

A Surgeon and His Family's Adventures Among the Gurkhas

Peter Pitt

May 2006




ISBN 978-0-95-520590-3

Scalpel and The Kukri

Major Peter Pitt provides a fascinating account of his experiences as a surgeon at the British Military hospital in Dharan, East Nepal in the 1960s and provides snapshots of life in Hong Kong and Calcutta at the time.
The British Military Hospital was relatively small but had to cater for Gurkha soldiers serving in the depots as well as British staff and their families. With no roads or medical centres available, the soldiers arriving for treatment had often walked or been carried before reaching Dharan to seek help for their medical problems creating its own challenges. Diseases such as, cholera, rabies and tuberculosis were widespread. Snake bites, attacks on villagers & soldiers by tigers, leopards and bears contributed to the great number of urgent operations Peter Pitt carried out under extremely difficult conditions. Exciting, often unimaginable and intriguing, this book evokes a strong sense of what life was like overseas during that time.
Peter Pitt made an invaluable contribution to maintaining the goodwill of all hill people in the surrounding area and the relationships he forged with his patients are described with endearing compassion. His appreciation of their beliefs and customs, set at the backdrop of disaster, disease and political unrest makes this a compelling read.
Powerful, insightful, historically sound and packed with beautiful illustrations and photographs, this book will capture the imagination of anyone interested in medical history, especially surgical history, or just those with a passion for interesting stories.

Click here for reviews of Scalpel and The Kukri

History of Medicine and Medical Biography

Peter Pitt