Advertisement Close

HBO TV Special - Baghdad Hospital: Inside the Red Zone

posted on: Feb 2, 2008

Fulbright scholar Dr. Omer Salih Mahdi filmed inside the ER where he works at Al-Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad, revealing the terrible wounds suffered by Iraqi civilians in the ongoing fighting.

As an ER nurse, I got emotional watching as the staff, working without anesthesia in substandard conditions, had to insert an adult size chest tube into the tiny body of a 6 year old boy with shrapnel wounds. Caught in the crossfire between, staff are targets because they treat anyone – Shiites, Sunni, militia, police.

A few of us here at Healthline were involved behind the scenes with 4 year old boy who was injured in the crossfire in Baghdad. He was on his way to buy candy with his uncle when bullets started flying. The two ducked behind a car but the car burst into flames when hit by a bullet. The boy and his uncle survived but were badly burned. The boy’s leg is not developing properly due to scar tissue and he was scheduled to have surgery at Shriner’s Hospital in Boston next month.

The hospital was going to pay for the series of operations and all of the travel expenses. The mother of one of our employees was working with Iraqi refugees in Jordan. She and others involved in the boy’s case tried and tried to get the right visa to satisfy US Homeland Security to allow his travel for the surgery.

The boy and his father were unable to get the proper G series passport that would allow them to qualify for the humanitarian visa proving they would return to Jordan after the surgery. Disheartened, we received an email from Jordan saying the boy’s father stating he was giving up. The surgery was canceled.

The film, which received a 2007 International Emmy Award for Current Affairs, debuts January 29 at 8:30 PM on HBO

Other HBO playdates:

— Feb. 6 (9:15 a.m., 8 p.m.)
— Feb. 9 (3:30 p.m.)
— Feb. 12 (4:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m.)
— Feb. 17 (12:30 p.m.)
— Feb. 22 (3:15 p.m.)

Today, Dr. Madi is a journalism student at the Institute for International Education at Ball State University in Indiana.