We cannot forget Syria

Surgery without anaesthesia is a miserable and brutal reality in Syria. Doctors report that demolished hospitals and humanitarian blockades have left some Syrians to suffer, awake, through amputations and Caesarean sections.

I saw similar horrors while working in a northern Syrian field hospital under airstrikes in August. I operated on children who had the bone fragments of obliterated bystanders embedded in their skin. Children shot by snipers were pronounced dead in front of grieving parents. Civilians with bellies torn open from shelling held their intestines in their hands while pleading for help. Some lucky enough to have survived shrapnel wounds succumbed to gangrene and required amputations.

Only so much is possible in a besieged hospital where cellphones illuminate underground operating rooms when the power goes out. In Syria, the front lines are everywhere and many who are armed do not respect medical neutrality. Like many makeshift hospitals, the one I worked at does not display Red Crescent emblems to help prevent its discovery and destruction.

As international attention to Syria wanes, all of these horrors are still happening. Continue reading.

Samer Attar is a United States-based assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery who recently carried out volunteer work in Syria.

Source: Dominion Post / Fairfax NZ News

Image: Narciso Contreras, showing Dar Al-Shifa hospital which was bombed by a plane

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