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Thursday, July 24, 2008

American doctors flown to Iraq to establish a proper health care system

A team of highly specialized doctors from Stanford Hospital were flown to Iraq by the Medical Alliance for Iraq this past winter to help create a formal system for emergency medicine. After visiting many health care facilities there, the doctors were shocked by the abysmal state of medical care and equipment they found. In fact the most advanced piece of medical equipment available was an oxygen tank that was being used on an asthmatic patient.

A thorough examination of the current system was done and shocking results became apparent. The Iraqi first response system lacks ambulances and a 911 system so patients are not stabilized before getting to the hospital. Once inside the facility, there is no way of evaluating what is wrong with the patient, so often times treatment does not reach the patients in time. The emergency rooms are extremely overcrowded, and there is not enough medical equipment or personnel to go around.

The American doctors spent weeks touring Iraqi hospitals and training Iraqi doctors in both basic and advanced medical techniques. This included the proper use of medical equipment such as testing for internal bleeding by using a portable ultrasound machine.

The team of doctors started the process of updating the Iraqis on current medical literature and procedures after being cut off from international medicine for so many years. Now the goal is to keep making progress by building better facilities and training doctors so the Iraqi health care system can stand on its own.

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