An English Doctor in Syria: Pity the Children - The Horror I Saw

09/29/2013
Map of Syria

Saleyha Ahsan, an accident and emergency doctor who is normally based at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex, reports from the Syrian frontline

In Syria today, there are many storms and relatively few moments of calm. I was enjoying a rare moment of peace, a time to exhale. It was a hot, balmy late afternoon on 26 August and I was sitting on the hospital balcony overlooking the olive groves. The sun was tipping into descent promising respite from its heat. Away from my comfort zone as an emergency medicine doctor in London, I was working in a northern Syrian hospital under the umbrella Hand in Hand for Syria – an aid group – and being followed by a BBC Panorama team, that was looking into the impact of the war on children.

Drinking my tea I was getting to know my Syrian colleagues. I don’t speak Arabic but they had some broken English. We laughed at jokes we couldn’t understand and at each other’s sayings. I admired them for having stayed when so many others had left – medical staff are high-value targets here. The sudden screech of a truck pulling into the hospital courtyard was the only alert we got that a patient had arrived. I ran down the stairs to the sparse “re-sus” room – the patient was an eight-month-old baby. His face looked scalded and the left leg was red. The exact cause of injury was unclear, the initial translations mentioned a car crash.

The full article continues at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/an-english-doctor-in-syria-pity-the-children--the-horror-i-saw-8847628.html on The Independent’s website.