April 28, 2017
Dr. Naveed Iqbal: “It’s a privilege to serve the Syrian people”
caroline.philhower

Stopped eight times by the army as well as various uniformed officials for scheduled security checks at Beirut airport alone, one can sense the tense atmosphere in this country. 25% of Lebanon’s population is now Syrian refugees. It’s a country surrounded by decades of conflict with Palestine in the south...

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April 26, 2017
SAMS Medical Mission with Dr. Saleem: Day 3
caroline.philhower

Today, I spent the day in a specialty clinic in the Beka’a Valley. When I arrived, I asked the clinic staff how many patients were here to see me. A staff member answered, “15, but more may show up”. At 1 pm, after I had seen 12 patients, she suggested I...

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April 25, 2017
SAMS Lebanon Medical Mission with Dr. Saleem: Day 2
caroline.philhower

Let’s start with a few quick facts about the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS is a non-profit, non-political and non-religious medical relief organization. They provide financial support to the dwindling doctors and hospitals remaining in Syria, that continue to face attacks. Today,  5 million Syrian refugees are spread across the...

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April 25, 2017
SAMS Lebanon Medical Mission with Dr. Saleem: Day 1
caroline.philhower

Our medical mission to Lebanon kicked off with a nice breakfast followed by group orientation with the 38 volunteers currently on SAMS’s medical mission to Lebanon. A few key statistics remind us of the gravity of the refugee crisis in Lebanon:  Lebanon has a population of approximately 6 million.  It is...

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April 20, 2017
A Lifesaving Diagnosis
caroline.philhower

Early in 2016, Tabarak Al-Jabawi lay waiting for surgery in Amman, Jordan. For five years, a malignant tumor on her wrist had grown in size. The tumor had followed her, from her hometown in Syria, to Al-Zaatari camp in Mafraq, Jordan. After years of pain and frustrating diagnoses, she was...

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April 17, 2017
Dispatches from Jordan with Dr. Jihad Shoshara: Epilogue
caroline.philhower

It’s now 4:40pm in Amman, and 8:40am in Chicago as I write this from 30,000 feet up above the Atlantic. (I mean “writing” in the literal sense – thanks to the #ElectronicsBan on flights from Arab cities, I’m rediscovering how atrocious my longhand is.) As I begin my reentry to...

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April 13, 2017
Five Days of Neurosurgery with Dr. Khalid Kurtom
caroline.philhower

Dr. Khalid Kurtom and his neurosurgery team from University of Maryland Shore Regional Health joined SAMS for medical mission to Amman, Jordan from April 7 – 14. Dr. Kurtom’s team joined a group of over 70 other medical professionals providing high quality, culturally appropriate medical care to refugees and the local community, including...

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April 13, 2017
Dispatches from Jordan with Dr. Shoshara
Day 5: Full Force
caroline.philhower

This morning, making my rounds of the breakfast tables, I had the following (paraphrased, I don’t have a photographic memory) conversation with Sami Diab: “We had a patient (at Azraq camp) that we couldn’t help with our materials. He was an elderly gentleman, and he already had a set of dentures...

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April 10, 2017
Dispatches from Jordan with Dr. Shoshara
Day 2: Teamwork
caroline.philhower

Every day is a new experience on a SAMS mission, as we rotate through different areas of the country serving those in need. Going to bed last night, I also tried to put to bed some of the emotions from the day before. The schedule moves on forward, and therefore...

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April 9, 2017
Dispatches from Jordan with Dr. Shoshara
Day 1: Mafraq
caroline.philhower

The day began at 4:50 am. It took me 36 hours, but I’m more or less over jet lag and I was grateful for 4 hours of sleep. The first day of the mission is full of nervous energy, making sure that all of the different providers and teams are...

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March 21, 2017
Meet Dr. Abdulkhalek
caroline.philhower

Dr. Abdulkhalek remembers all too well the moment that a rocket targeted the house next to his. “I remember when we were in our house and the plane targeted next to our house with a bunker buster rocket. The sound of that rocket was horrible,” he says, adding that he...

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