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The perils of being a doctor in Baghdad

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 28 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4043
  1. Nabil Al-Khalisi, general practitioner, Al-Furat General Hospital, Baghdad
  1. nabeelraad{at}

    Violence had a great impact on me when I was a student. I graduated from Baghdad Medical College in 2007, and the period of my study spanned Saddam Hussein’s era, the 2003 war, and the beginning of the civil conflict that persists today. During these difficult years I had to minimise my attendance at lectures, especially the theory ones; I only attended practical sessions. From time to time I witnessed a killing on my way to college. The experiences made me feel stressed and confused: everything around me was falling apart while I was trying hard to keep my medical education running smoothly. I was full of doubt and wondered whether the process of learning was worth it amid such chaos and terror.

    After graduation I was really looking forward to working as a doctor. It was time for me to help my society through practising my noble profession. Yet I did not realise that medical practice in Iraq is not only about patients and treatment, it is also about surviving to tell the tale.

    Being a graduate …

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