Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Treating Iraq

Water bottle filled with oil balancing on a post in the car park

With a background in Emergency Medicine I’m the de facto medic in the Bureau. I get called on a lot to treat the local guard force as well as our Iraqi staff. It’s usually fairly benign stuff like heat exhaustion, or minor lacerations. Every once in a while I get some interesting trauma like the 2000 lbs cement block crushing the guard’s toe. On other occasions I get medical issues, like today when I was asked about someone’s wife’s hair abruptly falling out.

If left to their own devices you get some pretty interesting situations. My favorite has to be the guard that received first and second degree burns to his face while trying to light a stove burner from a cigarette. His friends smeared his face with toothpaste in an effort to alleviate the burn. It’s never dull.

The truth of the matter is that according to the locals, all of the good physicians are either dead or have fled the country. The result is a pretty poor level of care for the average Iraqi.

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