Syria field post: 'I had to do procedures I'd never seen. YouTube helped a lot'

03/16/2015
Map of Syria

I live in a small room in the hospital. It’s about three metres square, and has a small bathroom and sink. I live there with my wife. We are at the hospital 24/7. My wife teaches in the attached school, and I work in the hospital 24 hours a day. Sometimes I rest or sleep, but if someone needs surgery, I go and work.

Before I was the hospital director, I was a general surgeon. But during the Syrian revolution that started four years ago, I was forced to do everything. I had help from normal civilians who did not study medicine, and I had to teach them basic first aid, medicine and surgery. I had to do everything: vascular surgery, ortho surgery, urology and everything else, eventually even ob/gyn surgeries.

There wasn’t a team to do these surgeries, so when a case came in, I was obligated to work on it. There was no alternative, besides amputation perhaps. So I had to learn. YouTube helped a lot. And I have friends overseas who I would call on the internet and they would explain to me how to do certain procedures. I had cases I had never seen in my life, that I had no idea how to handle. But I had to do it with my own hands. So I asked my friends or looked at YouTube and thank God, it all succeeded. I had great results.

Right now the situation is calm because we’re in something like a ceasefire. It’s not a 100% ceasefire, but it’s partial. Sometimes there are clashes between the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA), and Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces. I am speaking as a totally neutral party. I am a doctor and I work in development and health, I don’t agree with any oppression.

Full article continues at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/16/syria-field-post-doctor-hospital-msf-humanitarian