In chapter four, the second theme can be seen when we consider the story of the little boy known as John. His story shows how professionals in medicine today form opinions based on the facts at hand. John was a little boy from Haiti who was discovered to have nasopharyngeal cancer. Since there was no way he could be treated in the country. Dr. Farmer’s organization incurred a cost of twenty thousand dollars sending him to Massachusetts for treatment. Despite the efforts of the best paediatric oncologists the boy dies.
Thereafter, it can be seen how different factors have influence the perception of the medical field toward illnesses. According to Dr. Farmer “It is the curse of humanity that it learns to tolerate even the most horrible situation by habituation” (Kidder, 61). The staff members bring up the point that it would have been much more cost effective to treat other children, in favour of john who would have died anyways. This is an example of the theme showing the non neutrality of medicine. This is the second theme which relays how the opinions of medical professionals regarding sickness and health are affected by social, cultural and economic forces. Such as here where economics plays a role in the staff’s perception of who should receive treatment.