Refugee Healthcare - Lebanon
During video interviews, doctors tend to show cell phone photos of injuries that come into the hospital. Usually, I switch focus to the picture, because that’s what good camera people do, presumably, but I didn’t for this shot, so I don’t have any better idea what’s in this photo than you do. I can say that my friend and translator winced when he saw it, though he had the added disadvantage of understanding what this man was saying.
And yes, he’s missing an arm. He wasn't a doctor. He was an opposition fighter who was forced to crawl through sewage with a wounded arm. By the time he reached Tripoli, an infection had developed and doctors were forced to amputate. He eventually became a patient advocate at the hospital.
Abdel Qadir, 19, lost both legs a month earlier fighting Hezbollah in Qusayr.
Actually, he lost one leg at a field hospital in Qusayr and the other almost a week later in Tripoli. Doctors told him they might have been able to save the second leg, but because passing through – or rather avoiding – regime checkpoints took so long, the infection from the shrapnel grew too severe.
Once he can leave the hospital, he hopes to be fitted with prosthetic legs. Once he learns to walk again, he wants to head back to his friends and help them fight. He’s not sure how. "Maybe by cooking," he says.
These two brothers, who say they never lifted a finger against anyone, both took shrapnel during an assault on their hometown, resulting in nearly matching injuries.
A common accessory at the hospital.
While we were talking, gunshots – I think they were gunshots – started going off outside the hospital for what struck me as a long time, let’s say about 30 seconds to a minute. It’s worth noting that after some initial curiosity, no one in the hospital seemed to care.
As we were leaving the hospital, this man, who preferred not to share his name, waved us into his room.
He described the incident in which he lost both his eyes by holding one hand high above his hand, and then, with a high-pitched whistle, he smacked his hand into his opposite palm. He laughed and smiled when he did it. When asked for any other specifics, he just kept on making that whistling sound and laughing. He was probably a little crazy, sure, but he also seemed like the kind of guy whose friends would describe as “a real card.”
At a different heath center in Tripoli, a girl waits for a blood transfusion. She’s got thalassemia, an inherited blood disease that looks a lot like anemia. For reasons that weren’t entirely clear, a lot of people with thalassemia had suddenly been coming to the center.
A picture of a crying, panicked baby with a power saw next to his head probably makes one assume the worst, but I’m not a monster. This baby’s cast was coming off.
Women wait in line to see a doctor.