War Doctor

I’ve just finished reading David Nott’s recently published book War Doctor.

It has left me profoundly moved by his accounts of trauma surgery in some of the worst conflict zones in the world.  His humanitarian stories entailing accounts of putting bodies back together again after horrendous injuries caused by, for example barrel bombs in Syria, or the bullets of snipers leaves one reeling.

Anger is the only response in the face of those who inflict pain, death and destruction upon children and the innocent alike in some of the world’s darkest places.  These are the stories of humanity at its worst and at its best.  It is just the kind of book, from the real world, that one should read in Lent, culminating in the Good Friday Story.

It does not make for a comfortable read.  But it should be read.  And so much more.

He ends the book with the story of one child in Aleppo whose mother and father had been killed going through one of the crossing points on the road to ‘safety’.  The child had terrible injuries from fragmentation wounds to her leg, hand and arm and was obviously in a great deal of pain.

After dealing with her injuries he wondered whether she would survive. He lost touch with her.

Later the child was found in Turkey where David Nott is able to visit her. The look, he says on that little girl’s face radiating hope, happiness, pure innocence, love and possible forgiveness epitomised all that is good about this world.

As the Koran says:

Whoever saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.

Surah 5.32

She, and all other children and innocent victims of conflict the world over, is the reason I do what I do.

Revd Ken Graham

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