Back in Jordan with another Doctors group – this time it is with 20 physicians and they are Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi, all in different fields. The group meets every morning before going out to the different clinics and hospitals and camps. We are exchanging places so everyone is getting a chance to see everything and work on all different kinds of patients.
I went back to Zaatari today with the doctors. In one month the place has doubled in size . They now say the camp is about 170,000 people, bigger than the population of Madaba, the city I was born in. It’s bigger than the city of Lynnwood in Washington State.
We got permission for the doctors to see patients at the Saudi Hospital. This is the first time that permission has been given to outside doctors to do this. The doctors were seeing people regularly and I was helping with the patients that were coming in to the trauma clinic. There was a large number of young kids this time that were so sick, vomiting, cold, flu, dehydration We had one child that the father ran into the compound with – a 4 month old – who was so dehydrated that the doctor said she needed to have an IV right away. We had to get her into a car and drive to the Moroccan hospital that had IV to give to her and then get permission to get her out of Zaatari and into a clinic or hospital in town. The logistics of doing things here is so difficult. You are not just able to walk out whenever you want – everything has to be signed and registered and permission needs to be given.
Saw another young girl 9 years of age with her grandmother who had arrived in the camp about 2 months ago- her mother and father were killed while sitting at the dinner table and she was spared, and her older sister survived too, but she is not speaking now. The young girl had scnapel on her belly and her side and it also effected the nerves in her right hand. The social worker with us sat down with her and tried to play games, paint and draw – she started to warm up to her a bit. The grandmother left her with us for about an hour, she is 75 years of age and is not sure how she will be able to take care of them
We saw a young boy after this, 5 years of age that is wetting his bed and crying all the time and hiding whenever he hears noises or if anyone comes to the door. The mother doesn’t know what to do except shout at him to try and get his attention. The social worker had to try with the mother and also the son to have them look at each other and explain why this was happening and that it would take awhile , but she told the mother to just keep showing him love and holding him.
The doctors spend almost 10 hours here seeing patients one after another. The clinics in Zaatari, I did not realize before close at 4pm and all the people that have been waiting are sent home to come back again the next day. Nothing is open in the evening, as if illness is on a time schedule. They say it is for security reasons.
The other day we were told that they had found some Syrian military that were passing as refugees and in the evening would set fires to some of the tents. They were caught and sent to jail.
We get back in the evenings and everyone discusses what they have done and the number of patients that they saw and how we can try and make things easier for all.
You can see that the doctors have really been effectived by this trip. People do not realize the extent of this crisis until they are on the ground and see for themselves and talk to the people on what is happening it is different then reading about this in the newspapers.