Suburban Shaman

By Cecil Helman, read by Miles Anderson and abridged by Doreen Estall.

Producer Emma Harding.

Helman recalls his medical training within the rigid segregation of apartheid South Africa.

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0120060306By Cecil Helman, read by Miles Anderson and abridged by Doreen Estall.

Producer Emma Harding.

Helman recalls his medical training within the rigid segregation of apartheid South Africa.

0220060307As a newly qualified doctor, Helman leaves South Africa for London.

His first medical job finds him as a ship's doctor on a budget Mediterranean cruise, where he discovers the essential solitude of the healer.

0320060308As a London GP, Helman discovers that a patient's profession can determine the way in which a doctor should best treat him.
0420060309London GP and anthropologist Cecil Helman considers how contemporary medicine could be made more humane and less mechanistic.

He visits a sangoma, a traditional South African healer, and wonders whether modern doctors might learn from the more holistic approach of the shaman.

05 LAST20060310When GP Cecil Helman has an accident and becomes an NHS patient himself, he is disturbed to find a system that seems to reduce patients to paper statistics and doctors to slaves of the machine.

He considers whether the latest generation of 'techno-doctors' could learn from the way in which medicine is practised in the developing world.