Medical Mission in Syria

The mood of the medical team is upbeat, slowly having coming to terms with the continuous sound of shells and the staccato of gunfire around the city in these last few days.  This is Day three; the anticipation and the excitement to serve and save enhanced by the vehicle congestion in the streets and the throngs of people in the hospital foyer.  They came in their numbers from all over North Syria; the word is out that the foreign medical team has finally arrived.  The theatre cases line up, children, dental and non-emergency cases re-directed to our new outpatient clinic opened 24 hours previously, women in droves wait for the gynae; the casualty area is already flooded, field teams report huge numbers from the satellite clinics we've set up.  There is a hive of activity, the excitement palpable with every patient tugging at our sleeve as a desperate population eagerly seeks quality health care disrupted by two years of ongoing civil conflict.  The medical team are in their element, overjoyed and content.  This is what they came for, to serve with distinction, to bring hope and to heal physically and emotionally.  In less than 48 hours more than 500 patients have already been treated including the delivery of twins and several surgical procedures.

The rhythm and calm ominously interrupted by a traumatic, unfortunate emergency; a child has been shot in the chest by accident.  Our trauma team calmly steps in with frenetic reaction time, all the protocols are followed as this is what we do best.  The seconds tick by, for the father an eternity as he holds the ankles of his child lovingly with that tear-jerking look on his face. Oh! that look.  We gently move him away as realisation dawns that we've lost the child.  Words cannot describe the anguish of the mother, her body language, her wailing and the pain.  The wind is knocked out of our sails, we lose momentum.  Our day is messed up.  We sit down, this is a day of great sadness for us but a very normal day for the Syrian people who lose 200 lives daily.  The emotions have to be postponed; people want to be healed, lives have to be saved.  We hasten back to work.  

Imtiaz Sooliman
Northern Syria

Tags: Syria