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Healing hands in the war zone of Gaza

Oman Tuesday 02/April/2024 20:27 PM
By: Swati Basu Das*
Healing hands in the war zone of Gaza

Muscat: It’s the tale of an expedition that decides how memorable the destination can turn out to be. Such is the startling journey of an Omani doctor Dr. Aiman Al Salmi, whose unwillingness to be in the medical profession as a child ironically led him to a zone serving the war victims, disapproving his apathy about the noble profession.

Dr. Aiman, is an ethical man of courage with a mission to heal war victims beyond borders and breaking into the conflict zone without a second thought.

The braveheart plastic surgeon from Khoula Hospital in the Sultanate of Oman, he is a glaring example of benevolence in the geo-political unrest in Gaza. His noble gesture has peacefully conquered the hearts of not only his countrymen but also the war victims.

Speaking of his medical profession, Dr. Aiman recollected that he never envisioned himself in this noble profession. His ambition was not to be a doctor and he never denied the fact that it was one such profession which was least sought after by him.

“I had no clear plans to be a doctor but to live in the moment, I wanted to go abroad for my further studies. Going back in time, I can remember that I did not want to choose medicine as it is a challenging profession.”

Call it an irony, this noble man, who once held ennui while pursuing medicine, is currently looking forward to visiting conflict zones to treat war victims spreading the message of peace and healing. “Before I went to Gaza, I planned to resign and start my own business. I needed more free time to read books. The on-call days are hectic and I never get my ‘me-time’,” he smiles and continues, “But now I am thinking otherwise.”

An avid reader and book lover, Dr. Aiman has his own bookstore in Bausher and he believes reading has helped him remain calm and focused through all thick and thin in war zones.

 “I had never been to a conflict zone before and my feeling for the people witnessing and experiencing the brutality is beyond any words or expressions.”

Before landing in Gaza, Dr. Aiman visualised war through the media and had no first person experience on how it would affect him. Comparing what he saw on TV and what came to him in real life, he firmly mentions, “I am a surgeon, therefore, the impact was not very high. I was well prepared. I knew I had to serve the innocent civilians and war victims. Being a doctor, I am a messenger of peace and healing and my job is to treat patients and no bombardment can stop me from serving the broken ones.”

Humans are driven by emotion and doctors are no exception while facing challenges around them. His eyes filled with tears and his heart broke at the sights and sounds of genocide in Gaza. “It was a disturbing scene. The hospital from my dorm was just a few minutes’ walk but the homeless people and the helplessness around made my journey to the hospital eternal,” he exclaimed with a sigh.

Despite the emotions running high, a doctor must be strategic in deciding which patient to choose for immediate treatment amidst the hundreds of injuries brought to him.

“We need to be prompt and wise in choosing the right patient who requires urgent dressing or operation,” Dr. Aiman explains.

“The sight of injured and hungry children is upsetting. I amputated the hand of a two-year old child whose mother had probably died.

Forty-year- old Ahmed was brought to my operation theatre from under the rubble with a smashed face. I am a witness to several such tragic stories. In one day I had to run five times to the operation theatre.

Alaa, a 4-year-old homeless boy, always stood in the hospital corridor near the OT. His smiling face gave me hope and strength to continue doing what I am meant to do – serve the needy. I am thankful to my family who supported me in my mission with their love and kind words,” says Dr. Aiman with a blissful smile as he plans on his next mission to serve in a conflict zone.

Paving their path selflessly amidst the ruthless destruction to serve victims in dire need, these vigilant and wise noble men touch the hearts of millions as they pledge to sooth the broken spirit affected by warfare. Amidst the lows of a nation’s hostile situation, their story will always remain worth a tell-tale.

The doctor summed up wishing Ramadan Kareem to everyone. “Ramadan Kareem to all the people of Gaza and all the free people of the world. Ramadan Kareem to all the people of Oman and all my friends. May it be a month of goodness and blessings for all of you,” he added.

*This article was contributed by a writer based in Oman