MSF launches film highlighting the stories of the Syrian patients it is seeing in Ramtha hospital

December 10, 2013

MSF launches film highlighting the stories of the Syrian patients it is seeing in Ramtha hospital © Diala Ghassan

Amman, Jordan – 9 December 2013 A film highlighting the situation for war wounded patients coming from Syria into Jordan was launched today by the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The short (6 minute) documentary tells the stories of war wounded patients coming from Syria being treated in Jordan, and of those treating them. It focuses specifically on MSF’s Emergency Trauma Surgical Project inside the Al Ramtha Government Hospital. The programme, run in conjunction with the Jordanian Ministry of Health opened on 29th August 2013, so far it has treated 140 patients, and conducted 309 surgery.

MSF’s emergency trauma project situated within the Ministry of Health hospital in Al Ramtha, has conducted hundreds of lifesaving operations so far” said Paul Foreman, MSF Head of Mission in Jordan. “We are dealing with highly complex surgeries here, many patients need at least one amputation and require multiple surgeriesThe partnership with the Ministry has brought 33 new hospital beds and 2 fully equipped operating theatres to the hospital, which can be used for all emergency trauma patients admitted through the emergency room in Ramtha public hospital. The adding capacity that MSF brought to the hospital would be there long after the Syrian conflict is over”.

The hospital is situated less than 5 km from the nearest border with Dara’ governorate in Syria, which has seen some of the most intense fighting in the conflict. The majority of war wounded coming through this border are taken to Al Ramtha Hospital. Patients in the programme, whose ages range from 2-70 years are victims of bombing and shelling, caught in the middle of the conflict and left with limited access to medical care.

When I woke up after the bomb I felt my leg was amputated, and my hand all my fingers were broken. When the guys came I started screaming and saying I’m alive, they came and saved me from under the shells. Fighting was still going on, on the road while we were moving from my house to Jordan. It was very difficult for me; I was so much in pain. When I saw my two-year-old daughter Ourjuwan alive I forgot my pain. She’s just a kid what of this is her fault? I need to take care of her. I didn’t allow them to leave Syria, I should’ve fled Syria. Destiny was faster than my decision to leave”. Patient and father of a two-year old girl who survived an attack, but whose other daughter and wife died.

Waking up in hospital many patients are often not aware how they got transferred, or of what happened to their families. The only thing they know is that some of their relatives have died. Patients usually are in shock and traumatised by what they have witnessed, and by the severity of their injuries. Through interviews with patients and the medical team inside the hospital - including surgeons, mental health counsellors and doctors - as well as the Ministry of Health hospital director, the film highlights the severity of the injuries that patients are living with and the long and difficult road they have ahead of them. It particularly highlights the importance of follow up support in rehabilitation and mental health. 

Since the Syrian conflict began over two million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, including Jordan Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been present in Jordan since August 2006 with a high level reconstructive surgery program locates in Amman and has been working to support the refugee crisis since 2013 through the Ramtha emergency trauma surgical programme, as well as a Mother and child Hospital in Irbid to support Syrians refugees in Host communities.  

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