In a real sense, one might think Robert McKersie, a remarkable man indeed, has a split personality. Why? For part of each year, this extraordinary doctor heals the sick and the injured on the South Side of the city of Chicago. Here, he has the resources of hospitals, scanning machines, laboratories, the latest in pharmaceuticals. He can refer patients to top notch doctors for needed surgery, or for complex testing procedures which may save their lives.
Yet the hidden side of Dr. McKersie’s life is unusual. Part of each year, he spends on the opposite side of the globe in the remote mountains of Nepal, India, where he tends to patients who otherwise would receive little, if any, medical care. To reach the foothills of medicine where he makes critical decisions regarding the life and/or death of a patient depending on his careful diagnosis and follow up, Dr. McKersie must first travel nine hours by automobile into India's magnificent Ganesh Mountains to a base camp. Then, from here on foot, a hike of several days will take him to the first medical clinic of Tipling.
Dr. McKersie dismisses the discomforts endured on this long hike, but he will tell of the trials and courage of those carrying heavy clinical supplies and equipment over steeply inclined, seldom-trekked mountain footpaths. These precipitous ascents and descents in some places are so hazardous, that a misplaced footstep or the loss of balance can result in a death-tumble of many hundreds of feet.
Why does he travel each year to these remote medical outposts and leave his comfortable practice in the United States? The answer is simple: Doctor McKersie is a thorough idealist. In these remote mountains of Nepal he can practice medicine as it should be practiced. He can establish a relationship with patients—because they need help, because they are human, and because they are beautiful. In these remote places he does not worry about salary. Rather, he fears about curing infection, containing tuberculosis, stabilizing diabetes or a failing heart, or controlling epilepsy.