Seema Yasmin’s The Impatient Dr. Lange tells the extraordinary story of Dr. Joseph “Joep” Lange, who devoted his career to researching a cure for AIDS until his death aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014. Yasmin, his former colleague, invokes his unstoppable spirit in this spectacular tale.
Lange started medical school in the Netherlands in the early 1980s, just as AIDS began its surge across North America and Africa. After the first recognized HIV patients showed up in Amsterdam, Lange’s curiosity and ambition were piqued. His graduate school research was devoted to HIV—specifically, to discerning the method of the virus’s action.
Later, Lange switched to treating patients and researching treatments and cures. His work with the World Health Organization took him to Uganda in the early 1990s, where one third of citizens were dying of AIDS. Watching Ugandans suffer brutal infections with scarce access to medication, he lost all patience for Dutch patients, who complained about the horrible side effects of their drug cocktails. To prevent the virus from evolving, he proposed tackling HIV with a mixture of medicines rather than just one, and spearheaded research for a cure. His death aboard the missile-felled flight sent a shock wave through the medical community.
More than just a biography, The Impatient Dr. Lange is a must-read for medical students and history buffs; it is also a sociopolitical overview of Europe and Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. The heartbreaking stories of HIV and AIDS patients across the globe, paired with Lange’s relentless drive, propel the narrative forward.
Clear, concise, and thoroughly researched, this book shows how one person with ambition, compassion, hope, and the right resources can accomplish extraordinary things.
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