By: Mohamed Elawad
The Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations is connecting US Doctors with their Syrian counterparts in order to assist them with the ever-increasing medical needs created by the war in their country which has left over 100,000 dead. This process has been made possible via secret Skype sessions. Voice of America (VOA) was recently given access to one such session in which a 19-year-old with periphery nerve damage as a result of a shot to the leg was receiving surgery.
Dr Abdalmajid Katranji, a hand surgeon based in Michigan who had volunteered, was on hand to consult.
Though his practice is hectic, Katranji finds the time to help. He uploads procedures online to be viewed by doctors in Syria. He has shown Syrian field doctors that they do not always have to cut off fingertips to save time. “The benefit of having all your fingers, even fingertips, far exceeds the challenge of amputation,” he said.
US Doctors monitor as many as five surgeries a day in different field hospitals throughout Syria. Dr. Jomaa, the director of the Bab al Hawa Hospital says, “sometimes we get sophisticated cases. So we consult with doctors in the West and soon we will have an intensive care unit and radiology.” His operating room runs around the clock, conducting ten surgeries a day.
Many hospitals in Syria have been bombed. Doctors have called for no-fly zones around hospitals and say that the death of one doctor is capable of knocking out an entire health system. The war has bought devastation and despite the divisions it has bought, doctors have carried on the human cause. Katranji says “as people hear all the political noise, they really have to eliminate it and start looking at the human equation here. You just heard a doctor say he doesn’t look at people’s ID badges. He just needs to be able to deliver care and deliver care safely.”