“Trauma” confronts doctors who are not prepared for war in Gaza
With a calm but concerned face, Egyptian-British pediatric neurologist Omar Abdel Manan appeared on the Arab podcast to answer very difficult questions. Abdul Manan spoke about the feeling that Gaza gave him that no other place gave him. He left his native Egypt early at the age of eight and lived in Britain for a long time, but the feeling of alienation and lack of belonging did not leave him until he finally settled in Gaza, where he found a feeling of belonging, which he could not explain, but it just happened.
Dr. Omar’s Struggle in Overwhelmed Hospitals
Dr. Omar spoke about the cases of children being treated in Gaza, and described the tremors that afflict them due to the shock their small bodies were exposed to after the house fell on them, or due to colds resulting from them remaining under the rubble waiting to be taken out and the rubble removed from them. Dr. Omar pointed out the huge number of cases that come to hospitals at once, and how the doctor is forced to choose between cases, and give priority to treating those who have the greatest chance of survival, and this contradicts the doctor’s message and the ethical and humanitarian principles he acquired from medical school.
Dr. Omar described his medical trip in Gaza as extremely difficult and crazy, and stressed that what we see on screens does not represent 1 percent of what is happening there. He said: People are unable to believe what you describe to them, and this is what actually happened with his friend “Nick” when he tried to explain what he saw in Gaza to his family. Dr. Omar talked about the “trauma” that his friend suffered due to the horrific scenes he witnessed. He knows his friend well, and confirms that he is no longer the same person.
Dr. Omar’s Insights on Treating Children in War-Torn Gaza
What worries Dr. Omar is the double standards practiced by the leaders of Western countries and their media, especially in dealing with the war in Ukraine and the war in Gaza. He criticized the British government for bringing more than 100 injured Ukrainian children to receive treatment, while this did not happen with the children of Gaza, despite their huge numbers, which are many times their peers in Ukraine, and despite the doctors’ official request from the responsible authorities to intervene and bring difficult cases for treatment.
Dr. Omar said that when he was responsible of the student affairs team at the college, he sent an e-mail to the British journalist, Richard Horton, asking him to be allowed to speak about any topic in front of students at events. He replied to him with two brief sentences: “I gladly accept the request , but on the condition that you speak about the Palestinian cause. Here he was surprised that a foreign person would be interested in the Palestinian cause. From that moment, Dr. Omar discovered that he had a humanitarian message that he must deliver through the medical profession. He pledged to defend it because he considers the Palestinian cause to be the cause of all Arabs and the whole world and not just the cause of the Palestinians.
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