Did you know that captopril was derived from the venom of the deadly Brazilian pit viper? Since it went on the market in 1981 captopril and its successor ACE inhibitors have probably saved many more lives than have been lost to pit vipers. I’ve watched snake charmers capitalising on our fear of snakes, and I…Read more
About: Judith Harvey
Judith Harvey was a research scientist, ran the VSO programme in Papua New Guinea and taught in a Liverpool comprehensive school before going to medical school. She has been a partner, a salaried GP and a locum, an LMC chair and a long-time supporter NASGP. Her charity, Cuba Medical Link, enables medical students to go to Cuba for their electives.Judith has now published all her articles from the NASGP website as a new book Perspectives: A GP reflects on medical practice and, well, just about everything...
Recent Posts by Judith Harvey
What can we learn from the Faroe Islands, between Shetland and Iceland, about their pilot whale hunt, to would help make public health in UK more effective? The Islands and the Whales is a documentary by lawyer-turned-filmmaker Mike Day. It isn’t simply about whaling in the Faroe Islands. It’s an exploration of the practical and…Read more
Judith Harvey is recently back from Colombia, which is slowly recovering from decades of violence brought about by its illegal manufacture and export of cocaine. Twenty-five years ago Medellín in Colombia was the murder capital of the world. The city was in the grip of Pablo Escobar’s drugs cartel. His teenage sicarios – hitmen –…Read more
Few things in Cuba are easy. Most countries faced with what Cuba has lived with for more than half a century would be failed states. Cuba keeps going, with hardship and sacrifice, but a shared vision. The reputation of Cuba’s health service – providing rich-country outcomes on a poor-country budget – attracts interest from politically…Read more
Mrs Jones likes blue pills; they work better than those pink ones – even though they are the same drug. But she wouldn’t touch blue mashed potato. Wine buffs rate a wine higher if they believe it is expensive. Consumers are sure that a brand name product is superior to an identical generic, whether it…Read more
You are 13 years old. Your family is poor. Each month you have to take a week off school. In a few months you are so behind in your school work that you drop out for ever. You live in an African country, in India, in the Australian outback...in Leeds. You are 14 years old,…Read more
Judith Harvey examines the memoirs of some eminent hospital consultants, who are not just summing up their careers, but reflecting on the changes they have lived through. And when they are retired, they can say what they think. Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh set the trend with Do No Harm. Stephen Westaby, in Fragile Lives, tells how…Read more
How long before machines are cleverer than us? The first robots were clockwork novelties. Now robots – named for the Russian word robotnic, meaning worker – can outperform humans at ever more tasks. But robots are specialists. They don’t have our versatility – yet. They can’t yet do what every child can do – transfer…Read more
What had changed in the 15 years since I was last in India? I would never have guessed: leggings. Women everywhere were wearing them. And Prime minister Narendra Modi had just announced demonetisation, a bold measure to tackle corruption. From midnight on 8th November 2016 the banknotes which comprised 85% of India’s currency were no…Read more
There is a rift between science and humanity which GPs must try to bridge in every consultation. As a student I spent two weeks in a rural GP practice. I sat in on consultations and several of the GPs asked me, in my first week of clinical training, how their colleagues handled their consultations. I…Read more
With prosopagnosia, some people can’t even recognise themselves. Yet, others never forget a face. In the cinema, I often nudge my husband and whisper “Is this chap the same one we saw in the last scene?” and he hisses back “No, of course not!”. And every time I have changed school or job, there have…Read more
Ever since dogs found hunter-gatherers’ campsites a good place to scavenge and decided to adopt humans, we have created roles for them: hunting, protecting property, mountain rescue, companionship, and as ‘assistance dogs’. No doubt dogs have been helping people with poor vision for millennia, but it was a German doctor looking after soldiers blinded by…Read more
Recent Comments by Judith Harvey
- May 8, 2017 on What’s the Point of Swearing?
- January 26, 2017 on Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?
- January 12, 2017 on On the scent of cancer
- October 20, 2016 on Will I still be me?
- October 11, 2016 on On the scent of cancer