Treating Bashar's Victims
"They looked almost like they were coming out of a concentration camp."
"They were coming in not just injured or dehydrated, malnourished and psychologically traumatized."
"They [surgeons] would have amputated below the knee but all these wounds were infected and so we had to perform amputations above the knee to get less infection."
"What we were seeing was probably the tip of the iceberg."
"I treated her [4-month-old orphan with broken legs and fractured pelvis] and had to leave her and hope she gets through to Turkey. She's a beautiful little baby but she's not eating or drinking and will be dead in a week if she doesn't get treatment."
David Nott, British surgeon-volunteer, Idlib province, Syria
Who will be there to give that baby the soul-nourishing love and emotional support and physical dedication she will need, to want to live? Deprived at her young age of the presence of parents, destroyed by a war they could do nothing to prevent their baby from experiencing, she will be deprived of the will to live, irrespective of the best efforts of humanitarian workers like Dr. Nott.
This man's exceptional dedication to giving aid led to his repeated trips into Syria since 2011 where he undertook the training of many doctors working in east Aleppo's hospitals, now makeshift, after their destruction by Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes deliberately taking them out of commission. Just as the barrel-bombing of civilian enclaves in east Aleppo had a defined purpose, so did the equally deliberate bombing of the city's hospitals.
Dr. Nott, along with other dedicated volunteers, much less the remaining medical personnel from Syria's second-largest city, are attempting to cope with the flood of the wounded who exited Aleppo. Men, women and children presenting with untreated wounds. The six-month siege that deprived them of food and water, medicine and hope, has been lifted, temporarily. An evacuation of 30,000 civilians and rebel fighters under terms of a ceasefire.
Dr. Nott estimated that among the patients he was seeing it was not the elderly and children, most vulnerable during the siege who would have long-since died of wounds. Those he treated represented the most fit of the Aleppo residents, able to survive the rigours of the siege for whatever reason; their basic health and availability of food they could scrounge, however pitiful the quantity and quality.
Doctors in Aleppo had no choice but to perform hundreds of amputations, to save lives. They had no anaesthetic, nothing which could be used, to sterilize wounds, leaving injuries susceptible to infection and inevitably requiring that they had no option but to amputate patients for a second time, to ensure they wouldn't die of catastrophic infection and gangrene.
On his own, Dr. Nott operated on 90 people in the space of a week. Among them 30 children. He described patients as being "in a desperate state", having had little food for months, then having to cope with no shelter in an atmosphere of snow and freezing temperatures. The agreed-upon ceasefire with hopes it would lead to peace talks will at the very least suspend further atrocities committed by the state against its population.