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Iraqi medical crisis as doctors flee
by BBC (reposted)
Thursday Mar 22nd, 2007 5:23 PM
For the people of Iraq, it may be the ultimate nightmare.
The ordeal continues for victims of Iraq's violence when they are taken to hospital.

Most of the best medical staff have left after being targeted by insurgents. Many have fled the country just in the last few months.

Drugs and equipment are almost non-existent. The notorious militias target patients inside hospitals, and doctors inside the health ministry.

All this in a country that used to pride itself on the best medical services in the Middle East.

Many of the doctors have gone to neighbouring Jordan. There seem to be many thousands here, all with graphic tales of the horrors they have witnessed.

I walked into one Amman hospital, and immediately found four top Iraqi doctors, all British-trained and with world class skills.

They did not want to be named, because they have families in Iraq, but their stories are riveting.

"By the time I left the hospital, there was a great shortage of medicines. Nursing staff was zero," said a professor of neurology.

"In the college where I used to teach, five consultants were killed, assassinated.

"Before I left, I was doing a tour with my resident staff. I looked at the ward, I looked at the beds, and I said in a very loud voice: 'This hospital is not good even for pets. No medicines, no bed linens, the smell is very bad. Sewage is out on the floor.'"

He said that at one point all the operating theatres in his hospital were shut down for three weeks because no oxygen cylinders were available.