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Neurosurgeon in War and Peace
- Jul 30, 2021
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by Ameen Abbas Ameen LMSSA FRCS
Shocking and inspirational Memoir of Neurosurgeon who while operating on near 1400 war causalities, escaped death countless number of times and survived the 3 wars in Iraq including the bombardment of his house and the indiscriminate shelling of the city of Basrah during the 8 years long Iraq Iran followed by the gulf wars. He describes his operative experience and the management of the war wounded in particular. It also covers his Neurosurgery experience in 4 countries in peaceful times.
About the Author
Dr. Ameen is a Consultant Neurosurgeon in London with 40 years’ experience in Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and UK. Graduated from Baghdad University with distinction (MB ChB) 1970, requalified from Society of Apothecaries in London (LMSSA) 1978. FRCS in General Surgery from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in England and Edinburgh (1977). Completed Higher Neurosurgery training at the Central Middlesex and Charing Cross Hospitals London, FRCS (Neurosurgery 2007). Authored and Co authored >17 publications in Neurosurgical Journals. Operated on >1400 war injured victims from the 8 years long Iraq-Iran war described by his Consultant Robin Illingworth as: “Ameen has probably the largest experience of anyone in the world of missile injuries of the Brain.”
In print and E-Book published by Author House UK
Ameen has vividly described his experience operating in hospitals in Iraq during three periods of hostilities. Despite all the difficulties and the risk to both himself and his family they continued to serve the population in and around the Basrah area. I personally visited him and witnessed the very high standard of treatment offered by both himself and his colleagues. His experience of penetrating brain injuries is second to none. He has described the technique perfectly. This book should be essential reading for those involved in such injuries but also those travelling to a war zone as an illustration of the difficulties involved.
It is a sad but necessary truth that doctors have always played a leading role in war. War injuries from shrapnel, bullets and blast produce devastating and life changing injuries. Doctors tasked to treat these patients may find themselves in as much danger as the injured. This may be on the front lines in uniform, or they may be working as civilians far removed from the battle lines. For the author of this collection of memories from the Iran-Iraq war, his reality was as a civilian surgeon working in a hospital at a very short distance from Iranian border near Basra. This war, lasting from 1982-88, although massive in scale and length, seemed remote to those of us living in Britain at the time, so it is revelatory to read this eyewitness account. After training in Britain, he was compelled to return to Iraq in July 1980. Two months later war broke out and he unexpectedly found himself managing large numbers of war victims with penetrating brain injuries secondary to shrapnel and bullets. Over the ensuing eight long years of that war, he became one of the few neurosurgeons in the world to have amassed such an extensive experience of managing these injuries. While saving lives, he knew that he, his colleagues and surely most difficult of all, his family, were always in danger as the hospital and the surrounding town of Basra was subject to indiscriminate shelling. Within two years of the Iraq-Iran cease fire in 1988, Iraq invaded Kuwait and Dr Ameen found himself again treating casualties from all sides in the Gulf War. Highly experienced and with the hospital services better organised, many lives were saved under his care. After so many years of war he returned to work in the UK where he lives today and went on to make a valuable contribution to the National Health Service Dr Ameen writes with pride of the work done by himself and his colleagues in circumstances most of us are fortunate never to have experienced. He worked for the British National Health Service before and after the war and recounts the personal and professional relationships that were pivotal in his training and subsequent work. This is a personal memoir of quiet personal heroism and professional dedication. Dr Ameen talks with warmth and love for his country and without bitterness of his experiences of war.