Doctors Volunteer to Help Save Syrian Refugees in Jordan Hospital

PHOTO: Syrian Refugee
Share
Copy

At a hospital in Amman, Jordan, 2-year-old Raged put on a brave face as doctors examined an oozing shrapnel wound on the left side of her stomach. Her wound was so infected it wouldn't heal. The toddler was in constant agony, unable to sit or stand.

Raged was one of the two million Syrian refugees that have flooded into Jordan to escape the war in their homeland. Many of the refugees and the wounded are children. Their families are left to nurse them without assistance through injuries unimaginable to most parents.

Raged was born into the war in a town called Daraa, Syria, about an hour drive away from Amman. But for her entire life, the town has been the scene of fierce warfare between the rebels and the Syrian government.

Her mother, pregnant, left her home, her husband and her entire extended family in a desperate search for help after Raged was hit. Hospitals in Syria, crowded with injuries even worse than Raged's, patched up her wound and asked her family to move on. So they kept moving, and made it to Jordan.

"She was playing on the veranda of their home and there was rocket fire," said Dr. Abier Abdelnaby, one of the doctors at the Amman hospital. "Shrapnel, rocket fire and so forth struck her in, basically, her left side and blew out all of her intestinal and abdominal contents."

As world leaders waver on whether or not to intervene in the civil war that shattered half of Raged's little body, Abdelnaby will try to give the toddler back the ability to walk, play and be a child.

"It's heartbreaking, it's absolutely heartbreaking," Abdelnaby said. "This is a little baby. She should be out playing and running. She should not have her sides blown out and her intestines hanging out of her."

Abdelnaby, an Arab-American, was part of a group of 30 other medical professionals from all over the world who traveled to Jordan in order to help treat Syrian refugees. The trip was run through the Salaam Cultural Museum, a non-profit organization that collects aid for Syrian refugees.

The group was led by Dr. Human Akbik, a Harvard-educated, triple-boarded surgeon who practices at Mercy Health in Cincinnati, and a Syrian-born American who has led six week-long trips to Jordan to help care for dislocated Syrians.

During their short time there, Akbik and his team traveled around the country in packed vans and cars. The cases they saw ranged from asthma to gunshot and shrapnel wounds. They established the group's first optometry clinic and even set up mobile pharmacies.

"We have 750 pounds-worth of medication right now," Akbik said as he landed in Amman with 10 pieces of luggage, each packed with medicine.

"Nightline" spent a week traveling with Dr. Akbik from the United States to the Amman hospital, and then followed the all-volunteer medical team as they worked tirelessly amid the youngest casualties of a brutal civil war in Syria. Eighty percent of their patients were women and children.

As the doctors treated patients, President Obama was locked in a room with his advisors working on making a case for targeted strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and a fierce debate took shape over whether the U.S. should intervene in the war.

"I do not really like to talk politics with my patients because I'm here just to help them," Akbik said. "But what you overhear [is] that everybody is in favor, everybody is sick of the war and everybody wants to go home. And everybody is now looking that the strike is their way home."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
PHOTO: The scene near the finish line of the Boston Marathon is seen in this April 16, 2013 file photo. Inset, suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seen. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo; Inset: Lowell Sun, FBI/AP Photo
PHOTO: Pulaski Township Police Sgt. Chad Adam seen here in this undated Facebook photo, went undercover as an Amish woman.
Pulaski Township Police Department/Facebook