Rare Look Inside Baghdad Emergency Room


Insurgents in Baghdad have mounted dozens of separate bombings in recent weeks.

Nowhere is the fallout from the violence more apparent than in the city’s emergency rooms and trauma centers.

Jamal Enad, a second-year surgical resident at Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital, said he has seen firsthand the effects of the increased violence.

“It was a very bad week, the last week,” he said.

Enad is one of three doctors and six nurses working the day shift in the emergency room. They have been inundated with patients of late, since Yarmouk is where most Iraqi victims of insurgent attacks in Baghdad are taken for treatment.

Each day, Enad and the other doctors have been treating twisted limbs and pulling shrapnel from the wounded. The families of the victims crowd the ER, waiting in anguish.

Yarmouk is a teaching hospital, where doctors come to learn. They say what they are learning most clearly is how to deal with victims of insurgent attacks — how to recognize instantly who will die, and who might be saved.

It is experience Enad said he would rather do without.

‘Not the Real Job of a Doctor’

“For me as a doctor, I think this is not my future,” he said. “The blast injuries is not the real job of a doctor.”

Enad dreams of performing elective surgery at a peaceful hospital. But in wartime, he willingly goes to work, despite fears for his own life.

“I feel sometimes I might be a target,” he said. “But what can I do?”

Enad said one of his hardest jobs is dealing with patients’ families. While being interviewed by ABC News, one of Enad’s patients — the victim of a recent bombing — died from his injuries.

When the victim’s brother was told, he fell to the floor, screaming and crying in distress.

“This is normal,” Enad said of the man’s reaction. “This is one of his relatives.”

For Enad, the situation is painfully common.

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