The Rebel Surgeon

The rebellious surgeon Erik Erichsen is a man of the straightforward approach who leaves no time for nuances or bureaucracy and starts a hospital in Ethopia.  What the medical world in Ethiopia lacks in equipment, it compensates by the freedom to improvise, with or without do-it yourself material from the local hardware store.

Time & Tickets

After 30 years working as an orthopedic surgeon in Sweden, Erik Erichsen is fed up: all those rules, waiting times and bureaucracy make his work virtually impossible. Erichsen takes his bags and emigrates with his wife, nurse Sennait, to an Ethiopian region where doctors are scarce. The waiting room at Erichsen hospital is jam-packed. In rapid transit, he assesses hundreds of patients per day. He finds tumors, but also dead feet and stillborn babies. All daily costs. The doctor is filmed in his office, where there is never time for a nuanced conversation. That foot has to go off, otherwise you will die - that work. In the operating room he explains how he and his team complement their meager medical materials. With bicycle spokes, tiewraps, hairpins and a cheap hand drill you will come a long way. Why did this Swede, who previously played in Gandini's film The Swedish Theory of Love (2015), arrive here, right here? And how does Erichsen ensure that he - without control from above - does not become an absolute ruler in his own kingdom?

Erik Gandini, Sweden, 2017, 58 min. Swedish & English spoken, English subtitles.