Hope and tenacity of humanity in the middle of enormous adversity and conflict

This story has really touched me. This amazing 22 year old man was treated in our emergency department at Meljar hospital in Syria this week. The treatment we have been able to provide has changed what could have been a very hopeless future for his family to a future where they stand a chance to live with dignity.

Some time ago this young man's parents were killed in the conflict in Syria. He lives with his younger sister, and two brothers who are primary school age. They had to flee their home and have settled in an area very close to our hospital.

He had been at university studying marketing, but because his parents died he was forced to stop his studies and take on the role of breadwinner for his younger sister and brothers.

He has been working as a blacksmith fabricating metals and has been able to support his younger siblings. He has managed to provide a relatively good standard of living for his family and they have some of the basic things we would expect like a fridge and washing machine. Many people don't have these basic items in Syria. Last week he heard some noises around their home in the night.

He went to see what was going on, and disturbed some thieves who were armed with knives and a gun. Because he saw their faces they wanted to kill him. By this time other people had started to gather around to help him.

He sustained multiple fractures to his hand and multiple lacerations to his hand and arm. One of the lacerations on his arm caused an aterial bleed. If not treated immediately, a person can bleed to death within 10-15 minutes. Thankfully there was someone who came to his rescue who was trained in first aid and they put pressure on his wound, but it was difficult to stop the bleeding.

It took just five minutes to get him to our hospital and our team rushed him to the operating room where they successfully stopped the bleeding. This man will hopefully be working again in a few weeks which is essential as his family are depending on him. This man's hands are his livelihood and without the use of this hand he would be unable to continue his work. The effect on his family would be devastating.

One of the things that touched me most about this story is this young man's beautiful heart and the love and commitment he has to the important people in his life.

You may notice that one of these pictures shows this man wearing what appears to be a wedding ring. Actually, he is not married, at least not yet.

Some time ago he fell in love with a young woman and they want to get married. They got engaged, but they are Muslims and in their culture he needs to pay a dowry to her family before they can get married which he can't afford yet. He also needs to be able to pay for the wedding and buy lots of items for their home together. He wears this ring even though they are not married yet and lives in hope for the day that they will be able to get married.

It is very unusual to see a picture of a hand injury with a person still wearing a ring on their finger. Removing any rings is a priority because as the hand and fingers swell, the blood supply to that finger can become restricted and the patient could lose this finger.

When I was an A&E nurse I had many discussions with emotional patients who did not want me to cut off their wedding or engagement rings.

When our team in the emergency department explained that they needed to remove his ring he refused, telling them he would rather die than take it off.

The nearest hospital would have been at least two hours drive for this man if our hospital had not been there. With an aterial bleed like this he might not have survived this journey. The treatment we have given him means he will be able to continue to work and support his family.

Now there is hope for his younger sister and two brothers, and also for a young woman who hopes to marry a young man who, in the middle of such a tough living environment, we be a loving and committed husband. This is a story of hope and the tenacity of humanity in the middle of enormous adversity and conflict.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting this hospital.

We hope to open our second hospital, Emmanuel, in the next couple of weeks.

Please continue to support this essential work. Every standing order supporting these hospitals goes directly to paying for our hospitals. For more information on how you can support this life saving work please visit www.samarasaidappeal.org/hospital-appeal

Thanks so much.



To protect the lives of our medical teams we change the names of the hospitals, and do not reveal the identities of any of our staff.