Blogs from Basra, South, Iraq, Middle East


Middle East » Iraq » South » Basra April 5th 2017

So, as is inevitable, I got back to the daily grind and didn't finish up the journal. But I am doing so now. It will be less fresh but I'm committed to seeing it through. Wednesday was our last day. And it started with operating on Ali, our host. He had a tibia fracture 8 months ago after he was hit by a motorcycle and it was fixed in Lebanon because that was the nearest country that had the materials to fix it in a modern fashion. He was having difficulty moving his ankle properly and after examining him I realized that one of the screws that holds the internal rod inside his tibia had impaled and pinned one of his tendons to his bone. So we decided to remove this screw and check out the ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » South » Basra April 4th 2017

Tuesday Yeah, went to bed earlier just to wake up at 1:30 am this time. But I feel less wrecked than yesterday. I did a mini hotel work out and now I’m drinking my instant coffee and having some quiet time while overlooking the pool. I haven’t ever seen anyone in this beautiful pool… I’d like to see a Burkini. After breakfast, I head to the medical school and give a lecture to the students. Women are seated on the right, men on the left. They interact with me if I ask direct questions but mainly it’s just like a U.S. medical school lecture: some paying attention, some nodding with various points, some nodding off, some disinterested. I try to focus on a few keys points rather than hammering them with too much information. Rick leaves ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » South » Basra April 3rd 2017

Ugh. Every night I’ve been waking up at 3am with severe trouble falling back asleep. I had plans to go to the gym but I just have to sleep more. Ali picks me up at 8:30am after I down incredible amounts of instant coffee and we pick Scot Hoffinger up from the medical school where he is giving a lecture. There are large hanging signs in the building featuring the graduating medical students in different movie or TV scenes (Soprano’s, Suicide Squad, etc). It’s awesome! Great to see the students having fun. Iraqi medical training is a combined program of medical and undergraduate education for 6 years – much like Australia and European programs. I am excited to give my talk the next day. As I have been informed, there is only one female Orthopaedic surgeon ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » South » Basra April 1st 2017

Conference starts at 8:30 after breakfast. I slept poorly with some mild anxiety of unclear origin, probably somewhat related to the struggles of the surgery. I don't like not being my best, the best, and it's hard to be hindered by the environment. I need to get over myself already. So many interesting cases are presented. Gun shots, polio, infections, delayed presentations of congenital abnormalities. We see a case of hydatid disease- pretty much cystic tapeworm Infestation of the body, often fatal and extremely difficult to treat. Think: cysts full of tapeworm eggs that burst and clog up important organs. Takes a lot to gross me out, but... yuck. I find out there are three foot and ankle specialists in the entirety of Iraq. I meet one from Baghdad who hopes to come shadow me at ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » South » Basra March 31st 2017

I’m writing this while sort of listening during the conference and scratching the 7 bug bites on my legs (who knew, mosquitoes in Iraq). So pretty similar to what I would be doing during a conference in the States. The conference resembles most any orthopaedic conference. I am the only woman. There are some women vendors working the booths outside, all in hijabs. Rumor has it there is a female plastic surgeon from Germany who will be speaking but I haven’t seen her yet. However, everyone is very welcoming and I feel no weirdness or strangeness as a woman. The other surgeons are warm and we make introductions and discuss our practices. We have expert speakers and case presentations. It is all in English and there is a vendor hall with freebies and treats for the ... read more

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