Health & Medicine

One Iraqi doctor calls it quits

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Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Residents gather at the site of a bomb attack Thursday in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, 106 miles north of Baghdad. Four civilians were killed and 27 others were wounded in the attack, police sources said.

Sara Darwish is a young Iraqi doctor. A few weeks ago, she was practicing medicine at home in Iraq. Now she's moved to southern California. 

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

Mostly, she says, it was the insecurity that drove her out. She could cope with the violence as a girl growing up during the American-led occupation. But the violence now is far worse, she says, far more unpredictable. And pointless.

She treated plenty of victims of bomb and other terrorist attacks, and says these mass casualty events put severe strain on emergency rooms already struggling with too few resources. Money, medication and equipment were often in short supply. Her patients often died because of the absence of remedies for even simple communicable diseases. The poor health care, she says, particularly affected the those under five years old and new mothers.

So she decided to leave. The decision was hard, as she fully realizes how much every single doctor is needed back home. In fact, she's having second thoughts about the move.

Darwish says she was really struck by something when she arrived in America: "life here is so simple."  She really wishes her friends and relatives back home could have something like that: a normal life, without fear.

She hopes one day to go home. But not yet. Not till security improves.

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