Yes there is plenty wrong with our own health system at the moment. And yes we have just had a really busy shift.
But let us just take pause to reflect and put our own problems in perspective.
As the Syrian regime exerts a campaign of violence and repression against its own people, doctors and nurses are being forced to set up clandestine medical clinics to treat wounded patients in order to avoid risk of torture and arrest by the security services.
Medicins Sans Frontieres reports that a crackdown on the provision of urgent medical care for people wounded in the ongoing violence in Syria is widespread.
Most people wounded by shrapnel and bullets do not go to the public hospitals for fear of being arrested or worse.
Medical staff are often using false names and diagnosis to protect their patients as security forces search hospital records for injuries consistent with those suffered by protesters.
Medial staff have now set up ‘mobile hospitals’ in order to avoid detection and provide basic medical care to the injured.
“The security services attack and destroy the mobile hospitals,” said a doctor who requested anonymity. “They enter houses looking for drugs and medical supplies.”
Security is the key concern for doctors working in the parallel underground networks.
In the prevailing climate of terror, treatment must be provided rapidly since medical workers and patients must constantly change location to avoid detection.
“We are constantly being pursued by the security forces,” said another physician. “Many doctors who treated wounded patients in their private hospitals have been arrested and tortured.”
It is extremely difficult for the clandestine health workers to treat major trauma cases and provide post-operative care.
Additionally, they cannot obtain blood from the central blood bank, which is controlled by Syria’s Ministry of Defense – the only blood supplier in the country.
Only a few wounded patients have managed to find refuge in neighboring countries, where they can receive proper – albeit delayed – medical care.
I consider myself blessed to be living in a country that is free from such violence and oppression. And that I am able to work as part of a medical system that although far from perfect ( and in need of urgent improvements) is not fighting for its very life.