Would you like to guess the first Arabic phrase I learned in Najaf?
Most people start with something relating to food or travel, or even buying things. But the first thing I learned: "I'm really not a doctor!"
Now, considering I wear green scrubs and a surgical mask nearly 12 hours a day on these missions, it's really not that surprising that people assume I'm a doctor or nurse. I look the part.
If you know me, though, you'd be shaking your head right now; my medical prowess is about as limited as it gets. If peroxide and band-aids don't fix it, you're in trouble!
And this is one of many reasons I'm grateful for the International Children's Heart Foundation—they know what they're doing, and they put that knowledge to incredibly good use.
We're on our 11th surgical Remedy Mission in Iraq, and it never ceases to amaze me how skilled and knowledgeable Dr. Novick and his team are.
A little background: ICHF draws from a pool of volunteers to take on surgical training missions around the world. But these aren't just relief missions, they're about teaching and developing surgical centers toward competence. And they've been doing this for almost 20 years. In fact, They're fast-approaching their 5,000th heart operation!
That emphasis on training and long-term development (over short-term relief) is what makes them such a phenomenal partner in the fight against The Backlog.
They're willing to put in the years of blood, sweat, and tears required to bring Iraq to full surgical competency. This week of surgeries will be full of great moments—both tragic and joy-filled—and we're honored to share in that with them!
To learn a little more about Dr. Novick and the International Children's Heart Foundation, head over to their website.
They have lots of great info on heart defects and healthcare development. Or feel free to leave a comment below with your own thoughts on development and CHD in Iraq. Just don't use too much medical jargon. I'm really not a doctor!