Dr Munjed Al Muderis

An Amazing Journey 'The Roulette of Life'

He rejected a decree by Saddam Hussein to amputate the ears of Iraqi draft deserters, and ended up on a rickety boat full of refugees bound for Australia. Now, Dr. Munjed Al Muderis is a pioneering surgeon giving amputees the ability to walk.

Munjed, a junior surgeon, holed up in the women's bathroom of the Baghdad hospital, hunches forward, fixing his eyes on the brown tiled floor. Panicking, he tries to control it by taking a deep breath. He wipes his forehead and closes his eyes. If Saddam's security guard finds him there, it will be the end of it, a shot in the head or jail time if he's lucky.

It's the longest five hours of his life... Curled up on the floor, the lethal silence is only punctuated by moments of terror when some other nurse enters the adjoining operating room to wash. Munjed hears their conversations, the detail of what the young doctors have been forced to do, betraying the Hippocratic spirit, torturing those condemned by Saddam. Fortunately, no one notices his location, in the toilet stall in the corner.

For Dr. Munjed Al Muderis, that misty day in late October 1999 had started routinely, when at 27, he took a walk at 6.30 a.m. through the halls of Baghdad's Saddam Hussein Medical Center before its daily meeting of surgeons and registrars to discuss new admissions. While that large hospital on the banks of the Tigris River was suffering terribly as a result of the UN's draconian trade embargo imposed on Saddam's regime, with chronic shortages of basic medicines and equipment, his staff were still able to care for all the sick in the hospital.
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