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As a rule, journalists try to avoid getting personally involved in the stories they cover. But in the midst of such a monumental tragedy as the Haiti earthquake, professional detachment is sometimes put aside — especially when the reporter is also a physician.

Case in point: CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who’s spent a week treating quake victims in between filing compelling reports about the medical catastrophe in Haiti. Gupta — a neurosurgeon who turned down President Barack Obama‘s offer to become surgeon general — has played this dual role before, in 2004 after the tsunami in Southeast Asia and the next year after the earthquake in Pakistan.

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