Below are the first and concluding paragraphs of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlighting the ‘hell of Syria’s field hospitals’ and paying tribute to the health workers who are struggling to save lives ‘amid all this brutality and madness’.
The Hell of Syria’s Field Hospitals by Samer Attar, M.D
“Where’s my mom?” a boy asked as he woke from surgery. Both his legs had been amputated when a missile hit his home in Aleppo, Syria. His mother had died in the blast. It didn’t take him long to realize the answer. […]
As medics, we would go to sleep hoping that when we woke up, the previous day would turn out to have been only a nightmare. No one should ever suffer like this. Yet we’d wake to the truth, and the nightmare day would repeat itself: mangled limbs, dismembered bodies, dead children.
My experience is merely a glimpse of the systematic campaigns of torture, starvation, aerial bombardment, and chemical weapons deployment that are still threatening the Syrian people in their homeland. They have been ongoing since the civil war started 5 years ago. Civilians, homes, schools, hospitals, and markets are deliberately targeted. To date, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions more have been displaced.
I cannot claim to have the solution to the war, but I know that there are good people in Syria trying to make a difference. There is still some humanity amid all this brutality and madness. Paramedics brave sniper fire to rescue the wounded. White-helmeted rescue workers dig through rubble with their bare hands to find survivors. Doctors and nurses in bombed-out basement hospitals use cell phones to illuminate operations when the power goes out. These good people will be the ones to pick up the pieces if and when this horrific war ends. They don’t plan on abandoning the helpless, and they need all the help they can get.
All I can do from here is bring attention to the suffering of the Syrian people, raise awareness for the exhausted medical workers who care for them, and continue to advocate for their support and protection.”
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