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Mexican heroism
  1. M P Tomassi
  1. M P Tomassi, Albany Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, 43 New Scotland Avenue A-139, Albany, New York 12208-3478, USA; tomassimichelle{at}

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After two weeks in La Barca, a small dirt-lined Mexican town known for its delicious tacos and endemic salmonellosis, it seemed I was serving a prison sentence rather than my sixth-semester surgery rotation. It was almost 11:00 on another insufferably humid day and I was in the operating room. I struggled to maintain my steady contorted position as I held the patient’s abdominal cavity open with surgical retractors for the chief surgeon and the resident. I had been plagued with a wonderful bout of gastroenteritis since my arrival in La Barca, so my knees buckled and my attention peaked with every wave of abdominal false alarms. My peripheral vision had been obliterated thanks to the …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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