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Haing Ngor: Survivor

February 21, 1988

In reviewing "Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey" (The Book Review, Jan. 31), Lynne Bundesen writes, "Ngor cares passionately and his opinions matter. His strength and virtually indescribable will to live and overcome give him a certain authority beyond that of survivor/movie star."

Yet, "as a doctor, he let a man die on the operating table while he escaped the Khmer Rouge. The expectant mother of his child died in his arms because he was unable to or did not practice his medical skills on her at the final hour."

I would submit that on the basis of this review, Ngor does care passionately--for himself, and his survival was bought at great cost which at best resulted from abandonment of medical ethics and at worst resulted from criminal acts secondary to thinking that his life was worth more than his patients'. Such opinions and acts matter only as examples of survival at any cost--deplorable.

SYLVAIN FRIBOURG

PANORAMA CITY

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