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The Long Road

Mohammed Obaid is a GP Trainee in Donegal, Ireland. He is on Twitter: @DrMoObaid

 

I am a hardworking individual, who is answering a call.
Deep in my heart, that calling became my all.
My love for those who could not help themselves was fuelled by passion,
As medicine became my way of helping them with care and compassion.

As I grew older, I became much more aware,
That in Palestine, there was a huge gap in genuine care.
Those experiences moved me to become a General Practice trainee,
And through my education, many questions, have shaped my identity

As I homed in on that dream, General Practice stood out.
Specialising in people is what I am about.
Not just discovering the symptoms but serving the needs,
As a General Practitioner I am determined to succeed.

I had many questions that would push my education.
What I need to know about myself to serve our population.
To give ability to those who are unable.
To help anyone regardless of any social labels.

Could I look beyond the challenges and the complications?
Could I find creative solutions to thrive with numerous limitations?
Do I have enough clinical and moral imagination?
Would I see beyond the day-to-day trials and frustrations?
Can I see a way past setbacks and unavoidable course corrections?
How then will I muddle on or even flourish to move in the right direction?
In sharing this snippet of my greatest journey and history,
I hope I help fellow medical educators solve this greatest mystery.

In Palestine, I learned first-hand how to work with less.
I learned, despite my circumstances how to be my best.
So, to Ireland I went to specialise in generalities.
It is here where I build on all the possibilities.

And so, I take this journey to become a Family Physician.
It is here where I boldly follow my obsession.
I realize I do not take this journey all alone,
Many of us trained professionals have left our childhood homes.

That we may seek and use together at the same time,
The ability to look past competencies, milestones, and climb the climb.
We must enable professional activities to measure professional maturity,
Never wavering from our oath and practice with integrity.
I am thankful for those people who dedicate themselves,
To research, compassion, and the pursuit to keep others well.

Family medicine is a calling driven by values, fuelled by faith, and family.
I love being a part of a profession that helps others unselfishly.

Regardless of circumstances, I am focused on facilitating others,
To lead healthier and happier lives, giving hope to fathers and mothers.
I cannot imagine a more fulfilling profession,
For I am not from a family of doctors’ or health industry succession.

From my days in primary school, I had a passion for science,
I knew early on any other field would be like defiance.
I wanted to help people, I needed to help people, I had to be a physician.
I never really understood what that meant, but I knew it was my decision
To discover the amazing highs of directly impacting someone’s life,
Or the deeper lows when a patient is enduring pain and strife.
It is a gift each day to care for patients in their most vulnerable days.
Despite the stress, long hours, away from home where they cannot stay.

I could never imagine a different career, for this career has chosen me,
I remain passionate about youth becoming the best that they can be.
As a doctor and researcher, I have the honour of working in communities,
Solving the problems in life making a healthy life nearly an impossibility.

The incredibly strong and resilient young adults I work with every day,
Are why I became a doctor to come alongside them in any way.
Students and young doctors each day remind me,
Of my motivation to be a general practitioner, exploring the possibilities.
Their passion and desire to serve others is my inspiration,
Which brings me closer to my goals through powerful motivation.

There is such an incredible need for healthcare in Palestine,
A need for doctors, facilities, and better care is the bottom line.
It is out of this need to meet healthcare demands,
That I now practice medicine in my new home of Ireland.
Palestinian healthcare is caring, productive, backed by solid education.
But struggles to provide adequate service for the growing population.
It was out of this system that my desire grew,
To become a doctor and see what good I could do.

The poverty level is atrocious, unemployment is rising,
Wars, fighting, and a poor infrastructure is not at all surprising.
15% in the West Bank and 47% in Gaza are without jobs,
Making Palestinian healthcare an almost unattainable perk.
These difficult conditions which so many now live,
Exacerbate the shortcomings of what healthcare can give.
Healthcare professionals work tirelessly to meet the needs,
But lack of facilities, tools, and medicines surely impedes.
Ongoing conflicts leave hospitals and clinics in disrepair,
Making it practically impossible to give consistent care.

Supplies to make repairs is sporadic and slow,
Over-the-counter meds and prescription drugs are often no-shows.
Add to this a lack of water and protective gear,
Equipment may be at your fingertips, but will it work? Is always a big fear.

No water, often means sanitary conditions cannot be maintained,
Medical facilities become incubators of infection still the same.
Palestine suffers from few doctors specializing in family medicine in the land,
Especially when young people and children’s needs are in such high demand.

Fields specialising in paediatric surgery, psychiatry, and neurology,
Suffer heavy personnel shortages, even in those studying oncology.
The reason is these specialty fields require training outside of Palestine,
And once they leave, returning physicians are hard to find.

Physician shortages are rampant in Gaza and the West Bank,
Few doctors are around, but no shortage of tanks.
Lack of food, lack of water, lack of electricity,
Poverty, poor sanitation, and minimal medical facilities.

These are all contributors to the inadequate Palestinian healthcare.
Shackled by physical and political restrictions that are found there.
And it is the children who suffer most, their need is great,
40% of Palestinians are under 18, sealing their fate.
If they cannot travel, their needs may never be met.
Often restricted travel from camps keeps them there yet.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health tries in vain to provide,
But so many children are simply born on the wrong side.
Nothing they have done, not even who they are,
Help seemingly so close, but impossibly so far.

1st hand accounts of the problems have increased.
Mobile clinics are the only way some areas are reached.
These targeted areas have the greatest restrictions on mobility.
They have the highest rate of poverty of any communities.

I have been just 8km from a family medicine clinic in Jerusalem,
But the “Separation Wall “makes it impossible to get in.
Access may not be denied but is logistically unattainable,
Healthcare needs in these settlement areas is not even sustainable.

Family medicine clinics are held in school buildings with no formal exam space.
No confidentiality, no privacy, too many people in this place.
Two or more physicians sharing a room and possibly a translator.
Time is of the essence to determine which case is greater.

No windows, doors, water, or heat, equipment hard to find.
Having an ultrasound is okay, until you need an ECG machine this time.
Service is basic where it needs to be much more,
The needs for better healthcare here is greater than ever before.

As a physician I have streamlined all examinations,
Only what is absolutely necessary gets greater considerations.
I have seen children with advanced stages of chronic illness,
Kidney disease, Cancer, Acromegaly, and others I have witnessed.

The selection of medications is limited, unlike here in Ireland.
The scope of diabetic treatment is limited to what’s on hand.
Herbal remedies like ginger and cinnamon have been my “Go to” source.
In Palestine my hands are tied to merely “Stay the course.”

A General Practitioner in Ireland as a career,
Is something I’ve longed wanted for many years.
I want to make a difference for all my patients,
As a caring professional I’ll not give in to complacence.
Learning life lessons from the people I care for,
As they learn from me, seeing that’s what I’m there for.
Compassionate and caring from cradle to grave,
Not as much concern for the bottom dollar, but the lives we help save.

The joy of general practice, hearing stories of suffering and pain,
Not seeing patients as a number, but really knowing their names.
Stories both physical and psychological, self-esteem and neglect,
Cruelty thrust upon them, those things they cannot forget.

Seeing people recover from acute illness and injury,
Returning to a sense of normalcy and gainful productivity.
Healing wounds both seen and unseen,
From family and trusted others placed in authority.

The rewards may not be glamorous but are genuinely sincere,
The hug from a special needs child, or the calming of someone’s fears.
The thanks you receive from a person you’ve helped along their way,
Or the feeling you get when you’ve made a difference in their one single day.

You need passion and patience to be a family medicine physician.
You cannot pretend to be some kind of magician.
You must be willing to give much more than you receive.
Your honesty and truthfulness cannot exist when you deceive.

Shadowing a General Practitioner I have witnessed first-hand,
My career path now I fully understand.
Family practice is where I’ll serve as it will serve me,
To fill my highest expectations and possibilities.

Caring for people and getting to know who they are,
Rather than seeing their illness alone makes you their shining star.
Like the elderly man with dementia looks at you to say,
“Thank you, Doctor, what will we talk about today?”

There is no higher reward than seeing him smile,
A special connection is made that can’t come from just a file.
Countless others who have “adopted” you into their family,
Knowing how great a part you play in their life’s history.

As I enter my second year of training I can barely wait,
To see what lies ahead, and what a difference it will make.
Family practice makes sense to me, it is my greatest desire.
Serving my community with a passion that’s on fire.
Studying family medicine is just the beginning of my learning.
Experiencing life with others will be soul’s yearning.

 

Featured Photo by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash

The BJGP is the world-leading primary care journal. At BJGP Life we add multi-media comment and opinion for the primary care community.

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