Doctors recount trauma of Pakistan-India quake

first_imgWHITTIER – Though bodies still lay trapped under rubble, rescue efforts after the earthquake that hit northern Pakistan and India last month are now focused on saving the living.Three Whittier-based doctors joined that effort soon after the Oct. 8 earthquake.They say it became one of the biggest journeys of their lives.“The minute we saw the pictures on the news, we knew we’d go,” said Aliya Ali, a pediatrician at Whittier Family Medical Center.She traveled from Islamabad to Kashmir, treating the injured with her sister, Majjida Ahmed, who is a surgeon and family practice doctor.They treated patients with crush wounds, head trauma, amputations, broken limbs and dehydration, among other injuries.Aliya’s husband, Syed Imran Ali, is an anesthesiologist at Whittier Hospital Medical Center, who traveled to Pakistan with humanitarian agency Relief International.Syed took the 20-hour flight Oct. 15. The following week, Aliya and Majjida took dufflebags filled with supplies, and boarded a plane for Islamabad, Pakistan.From there, they took buses to small cities between the capital and Kashmir, helping patients at each stop.“It was like being in a war zone,” said Majjida.The children she treated were strangely quiet, said Aliya.“When children are suffering or in pain, they cry. These children were in such shock, they were quiet,” said Aliya. “They were so traumatized, they wouldn’t speak. That sticks with you.” Though he arrived in Batgram, Pakistan more than a week after the earthquake, Syed said that the devastation was tremendous. “The district hospital had collapsed. Patients were in tents. All the facilities – water, latrines – were not well,” said Syed.His team treated 70 to 80 patients per day in a tent, armed only with the supplies they had brought with them.One 9-year-old child remains vivid in Syed’s mind. He had the measles and came to Syed in respiratory distress. His condition was too advanced, and he died.“The whole setup was in shambles,” Syed said. “There was nothing we could do for him. Here, we go after life like gangbusters and try to save it with whatever you have. There, there was nothing. It makes you appreciate what we have here.”The three are now planning to raise money for an orphanage to house the many children who lost their families.Relief International can be reached at (800) 573-3332 or www.ri.org. [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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