Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tragic Loss to Penn Program in Botswana

Sadly, I returned home from call yesterday to hear some horrible news regarding one of the physicians with whom I had worked in Botswana.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way to say it, so I'll just come straight to the point. Dr. Richard Root, pictured on the right with his wife Rita, was attacked and killed by a crocodile while taking a river cruise in Botswana this past Sunday. Some details of the incident can be found in this news article.

I wish it were some kind of joke. Crocodiles are not generally considered a big danger--in fact, when we went rafting on the Zambezi we saw several, and on a few occasions we were thrown from the raft into the water and transiently separated from the raft. We were in fact told by our guides that nobody had ever been attacked by a croc in all their experience rafting, so don't worry about it.

I had visited the exact same place as the Roots in the region known as Tuli Block approximately 3 weeks ago, a sobering realization. He was my roommate at the Penn flats and my attending physician on the Male Medical Ward for about 2 weeks. He had intended to stay and teach in Botswana for the next 2 months in an effort to help improve their health care system. This is truly a tragic loss for the Penn Program in Botswana as well as the general field of medicine.


Blogger Becca said...

I'm so sorry to hear of this loss. He sounded like a really cool guy.

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