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War on Iraq

A Look Inside a Baghdad Hospital

Friday, April 04, 2008 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: war on Iraq, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Instead of being a safe refuge, city hospitals are some of the most dangerous places in Baghdad. Iraqi filmmaker and former physician, Omer Salih Mahdi recently spent six weeks filming daily life inside of the hospital Al Yarmouk. He also spent time filming on the streets with the hospital's ambulances. His documentary "Baghdad Hospital: Inside the Red Zone," shows an unusual glimpse of the routines of this city hospital.

Dr. Mahdi endured threats, beatings, interrogations, and even death threats in the process of creating his documentary. At one point, his safety was so threatened that he decided to suspend filming. The director of security, who was responsible for the approval of the filming project, was shot and killed during the project.

The overwhelming feeling captured by the film was chaos. The individual civilian patients who are caught in this chaos seem overwhelmed and bewildered. At one point in the film, three people in an ambulance are shown. They are very angry and yelling that they want Saddam back. This seems to be a common Iraqi sentiment. They yearn for the Saddam days not because they were necessarily good, but because at least the people felt secure.

Before the war, Dr. Mahdi explains that the hospital was a very quiet place that received few trauma patients. Since the war began, they now receive many people each day due to explosions, shootings, and stabbings. At the same time as the increase in traumas, they started to lose security in the hospital. There were many times when people would come into the hospital and they were angry -- they had lost a loved one -- and they blamed the doctors. Many physicians were even beaten.

Another issue is a shortage of medication, anesthesia, and equipment. This has worsened since the war began and since the fall of Baghdad. "We were telling people to bring medications from outside because they weren't available in the hospital. If a patient needs a blood transfusion, he had better have someone with him who can donate some blood. If you need surgery, your only anesthetic may be your family holding you down." Not only is there a shortage of medications, there is also a shortage of caregivers. The morgue is ill-equipped as well. Most of the refrigerators for storing corpses are broken leaving deceased patients literally lying on the ground in the sun in some cases.

The hospital in the documentary, Al Yarmouk, received 50-60 civilian casualties per day. This is only one hospital in one part of Baghdad. The total number of civilian casualties likely exceeds 600,000. In addition, many people are killed and buried without any registration.

Dr. Mahdi practiced medicine in Iraq for almost four years before he quit to become a journalist. He is now studying for his master's in journalism on a Fulbright scholarship at Ball State University in Indiana.

About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
http://winemaiden.com - Simply Abundant Living

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