ABC1 Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 6.30pm
This week on TALKING HEADS, Peter Thompson talks to an Adelaide surgeon whose life story has captured the attention of Hollywood.
Craig Jurisevic was 33-years old when he answered a UN call for volunteer doctors to go to the Balkans to treat victims of the Kosovo conflict.
Once there, he was appalled to find corrupt hospital officials were refusing to treat some refugees, and were selling donated medical supplies on the black market. Jurisevic tried unsuccessfully to get the UN leader, Kofi Annan, to intervene and in desperation he used the media to blow the whistle.
I didn’t realise how at risk my life would become by leaking that story but I felt a moral imperative to do so. I couldn’t carry on in the position I was in without doing something
Warned that he was now on a mafia hit-list and with no safe route out of Kosovo, he joined the surgical team of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) effectively crossing the line as a medico.
That was the first moral dilemma. Other dilemmas arose at the front line…I had to let many people die … and the one big issue was the issue of euthanasia, battlefield euthanasia where I had to end a woman’s life at her request under very difficult circumstances.
On TALKING HEADS, Jurisevic reveals the struggle to maintain his moral bearings, and how he feels about those decisions a decade on.