Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it”~Psalm 34:14
One evening a few months ago, I was asked to consult on a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. The infant had multiple medical problems and needed to be evaluated for heart surgery. During my assessment, I found out that this baby had numerous congenital anomalies. The tiny patient underwent several surgical procedures and was in need of more. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hospital days, yet we all knew, as health providers, that he would never be an individual who was even near normal. After deep reflections regarding this baby, I was not sure, as clinician, if I was really in the right place to serve humanity.
Around 20 years ago, when I was a junior surgeon in Kuwait at the beginning of the Gulf War, I took care of an Iraqi soldier who was injured seriously on his right arm. He lost his brachial artery and the vascular repair failed. Rotating in orthopaedics at that time, I had to amputate his right upper extremity. A few days later, when he started to trust me, he began talking to me. I was shocked by his situation. He was 21 years old, newly married and had a newborn baby girl. He was supporting his two parents and six sisters and now he had lost his dominant arm.
The ethical challenges of the situations above have created a great debate in my heart and mind. I wanted to become a doctor to help people, I asked myself, “Am I really in the proper profession?” We spend long hours, effort and money to help a patient with multiple medical problems whom we know will never be normal or productive-and I am not against that at all. But, if we stop wars, we are saving healthy, productive people who are taking care of families. There are no winners in war because even if you lose one soldier, you have devastated the life of a family.
We human beings are contradictive to ourselves. Nowadays, we think we are at the top of civilization while I wonder if we are any better off than we were 5,000 years ago. In the last two centuries there have been more people killed than in the rest of the history of humankind. There are wars happening now and we know of only a very few.
I believe stopping wars is the most noble job an honest human can pursue. Can I stop wars? Or shall I just concentrate on what I was trained to do, that of doing my best to take care of patients?
I asked God for guidance and to lead us to peace.
-Nahidh Hasaniya, LLUSM, department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. Born and raised in Kuwait, he graduated from Kuwait University Faculty of Medicine in 1987. Rotating in orthopaedics when the Iraqis invaded Kuwait, he became one out of three orthopaedists covering the whole country-performing plastic surgery, trauma, and even obstetrics. He moved to the U.S. in September of 1991, a few months after Kuwait’s liberation. He and his wife have five children.