Shots in the hospital: A physician talks about his missions for Doctors without borders

What exactly do you do as a doctor in your operations?

I’m doing the First aid and emergency care. I’m sorry, silence, bleeding, connecting and stabilizing the patient. The necessary operations to make then my colleagues. And I triagiere the sick.

The meaning of this?

Simple said: I decide who is here to help and whom not? This is especially important when in the war many of the injured come at once. I decide so, who is primary treated.

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Lord of life and death. How does that feel?

I was functioning then. A must do, according to clear criteria. This is a professional classification that is necessary. It has no sense to treat a seriously injured Dying, and to have a better chance of Survival, wait the bleeding out.

You are with a tremendous misery and the consequences of brood been the Alster violence faced. What is the image of man has in the face of this murderous potential of one’s own species?

In some situations, it was to Despair. But I’ve everywhere met on the world, wonderful people. I think until today still, in principle, to the Good in all of us. Yes, many of us can be beasts. War is terrible. But most wars are consequences of political failure. Also our failure as the Western world. This often makes me angry.

Can you give an example?

The current situation in Libya. First, the dictator was eliminated, with Western assistance, and the arms rigidly at the end of the country and the Warlords leave. Now refugees will be tortured to the end, have made their way to Europe. And we are allowing it. Which is a shame.

Use in South Sudan, 2014: In the South Sudan Doctors treated on an outpatient basis “without borders” in 2014, almost 551.000 patients and more than 32,000 inpatients, with about half of them were children under five years of age

Always when you come back home, you will experience the stark contrast between the health care in this country and the low Standards in their areas of operation. How do you deal with it?

I found this especially after my first missions is difficult and stressful. I saw people through the case and actually well-treatable infections die. The gap is just insane. It is the most elementary things is missing, outside of Europe, often to help people. And then you come home and are experiencing, as here, dying, old people are held with highly complex medical care for hundreds of thousands of Euro on artificial life. A bizarre contrast.

And a touchy subject.

Absolutely. No people must we let die. Completely clear. But we need to discuss how long the Suffering of the Dying should technically be extended.

While an Ebola epidemic in West Africa 2015

But who is to decide that at the end?

At best, the patients themselves. And the next-of-kin. If possible, when you are healthy and clear in the head. I can only advise everyone to clearly and individually formulated treatment. This also helps us Doctors. The medicine here in the West can very much. And that is often a blessing. But everyone should decide for themselves what to do with him or her at the end of life.

But how do you go now with this basic gap between here and there?

I will not comparisons now. That would make me otherwise insane. This gap applies to every area of life of the people. I take it now as it is, and do what is necessary and possible.

You will ever be in use at serious risk?

A few Times it was awkward. I especially remember a Situation in the Yemen. We cared for seriously injured victim of a shooting. The were brought in one-minute intervals. Eventually, the shock room was crowded. And all of a sudden we heard shots in the hospital. Close. They came closer and closer. I had to decide in seconds whether we get on or leave the room.

You’re safe! Tankred Stöbe is helping Refugees in distress at sea rescue service in 2015 in the Mediterranean sea.

What did you do?

We have been looking for in a side room of protection, and wait until the Situation was clarified.

What emotions did you have at this Moment?

I felt faint and deep Regret. I’m a doctor. I want to help. But there is a clear rule in us: Self-protection comes first.It also has no sense if we are shot and the hospital without the Doctors in the world, we need to see a professional. After the event, we have worked on.

Is this unusual?

Luckily, not. We are rarely attacked directly. The parties to the conflict to respect us as a neutral helper. Employees of us die or be injured, is really rare.

Sometimes the nature of your opponent. Two months after the Tsunami disaster in December 2004, you were in Indonesia.

This was the worst destruction I’ve ever seen in my life. An Inferno! And then the Thousands of Hurt. We were in the troubled province of Aceh engaged. Me particularly moved, that the people had no words for their emotional suffering, their traumas.

Did you know that you are traumatized?

Exactly. We have then trained local Teams that showed went on the market places and in role play, of how depressed people behave. And the people stood, watched, and cried, “just like my mother.” “So my brother is.” Or: “So it goes to me.” Then we explained to them that this is a disease that can be treated.

And then you also experienced a severe earthquake in the already devastated Region …

It was shortly before midnight when it began. We ran out of the house, and the world around us is moving. Everything swayed. It was really scary. Like in a disaster movie. We were shocked, but the Locals have completely lost the version.

Because they thought that the Horror be repeated?

Yes, we see time and again that people can process a single disaster, somehow still. But if the event is repeated in the short term, then the people can no longer simply. Then all the dams will break. The panic around us was oppressive.

Earthquakes, shootings, Deaths and serious not injured – they thought sometimes: “What am I doing with myself here? It is enough for now. I’m going home.”

I was often frustrated and even appalled, but this idea came to me. I had taken a job as a doctor, and had to fulfill it. And there were also beautiful moments, and then I take all the more true: people, we have been able to save, willingness to help, the immense gratitude of the patients and last but not least, experiences the nature. The me is always up.

In August 2012, she received a bizarre email: “We would Tankred like to send to Syria, to install a cave of the operating room.”

I thought: This sounds a bit crazy, but also exciting. This was my tenth use.

What was the work in the caves-OP?

We have only moved once, Schedule and Material are provided and then an inflatable tent set up in the we could under sterile conditions of surgery.

In 2011 in Somalia. The children especially suffered from the drought and a poor supply. In 2013, Doctors pulled “without borders” after 22 years of use in the crisis area, his helper. Basic attacks on staff were. In 2017, the work was taken up again.

Whom you have treated?

Anyone who has been brought. We do not differ there. There is only one rule: The patients are allowed to bear no weapons, and, if possible, soldiers should come without a Uniform to us.

“Humanity as the last medicine” override the Chapter in your book about Sierra Leone. What do you mean?

Where Ebola had broken out. A tremendously deadly disease. That was upsetting. Usually patients we treat have to survive a real Chance to. Here, it is not. I have yet to see in any use so many people to die.

Your ethical approach is always from the other, from the most Vulnerable. Are you a religious person?

The not. Helpfulness must not be based on religion. I guess the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. The says, in effect: “the Plight of The other, for me, is the call to do something.” And so, I want to act. Not continuously, but in principle. I’m sure of it: We humans need each other.

They are married since 2011. Your wife wrote to you once, the words: “I hope you’re close to the Emergency but away from the bombs. I’m not asking you to be brave – what you do is remarkable enough. It is better to be a coward for me!” Have you kept it?

That was when I was in Syria. She had hidden a card with this Text in the Luggage. This has touched me very much. My wife is also a Doctor. She knew who she’s getting into. But I am careful. I follow the rules of safety. I live very much.

How long you want to work for “Doctors without borders”?

There is no end in sight.

Inspiration: Tankred Stöbe: “courage and humanity. As a doctor in the world in cross-border situations,” Fischer, 192 S., 14,99 Euro