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Local Doctors Help Syrian Refugees
Cincinnati (Angenette Levy) - A local medical team returned to Cincinnati Friday after spending a week in Jordan providing care to Syrian refugees.
Dr. Humam Akbik led the team which included Dr. Maram Khabbaz, nurse practitioner Sondra Blythe and physicians assistant Iman Eltay. It was Dr. Akbik's sixth trip to Jordan since October 2012. He was born in Syria and has lived in the United States since 1993. Akbik called the trip "successful" despite the overwhelming need for medical care for refugees. He said his team saw between 900 and 1,000 patients.
Dr. Khabbaz called the trip "awesome." She would like to return to Jordan at a later date.
"It was a lot of need that we try our best to meet but I don't think we were able to meet oall the need there. Physically, emotionally, it was a huge need," Dr. Khabbaz said.
Sondra Blythe specializes in wound care. She and the others on the trip cared for patients but also trained medical personnel in Jordan on how to care for the wounded and those who may be suffering from bed sores. Blythe said she would like to go back to Jordan. She was surprised by the need for medical care.
"I can't honestly say I knew a lot about the specifics of what was going on but it was tragic over there. I just couldn't believe the lack of medications, the lack of pain medications. Even the lack of supplies," Blythe said.
Dr. Akbik said people in Jordan have asked him to bring mental health professionals with him on his next trip. Many of the children are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are generally fearful and feel like no one cares about them, Akbik said. He also noticed many children are suffering life-altering gunshot wounds.
"We've seen young kids, especially female kids, who've been hit with spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, the snipers are targeting kids and they're targeting to paralyze them rather than kill them - which is something I really don't understand," Dr. Akbik said.
Dr. Akbik will return to Jordan in November. He is the chief of Pain Management Medicine at Mercy Health.