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Thursday, 19 November 2009
Peshawar hospital in war-time crisis
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From The Telegraph (with thanks to Alan):

Severed limbs and severed heads. Attacks linked to al-Qaeda have killed 2,540 people in Pakistan over 29 months.

Doctors and nurses battle to save lives in Pakistan's war against the Taliban, threatened with death and struggling to treat horrific injuries at a colonial-era hospital.

"We're under severe psychological pressure. How long will we get bodies of men, women and children, severed limbs, severed heads?" said Sajida Nasreen, catching her breath on duty at the main hospital in the north-western city of Peshawar.

"A dead 11-year-old was brought in, drenched in blood but his shoes shining with polish. His father came, lifted the child onto his lap, kissed him and said: 'I sent you to school, not to die'.

"For the first time in my career, I wept bitterly," said the nurse, who at 53 thought she had seen everything until al-Qaeda-linked attacks got worse and worse, killing 2,540 people in Pakistan over 29 months.

"Those responsible should see the situation in the hospital to understand what these blasts do," she added.

Lady Reading Hospital, or LRH as it is known among the 2.5 million residents of Peshawar, was founded in 1924 when Lord Reading was viceroy of India and is now one of Pakistan's largest teaching hospitals.

On a visit to the area, his wife fell off a horse and suffered an injury, only to find that proper treatment was unavailable locally. In England, she collected donations from British philanthropists and set up a hospital that ultimately took her name.

But the romance of its beginnings has vanished under the carnage witnessed in Peshawar and the surrounding North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where Taliban bombings and military offensives have been concentrated.

"We have dealt with 49 blasts... 2,200 injured and 576 bodies in bombings," said Dr Ataullah Arif, the surgeon in charge of the emergency ward...

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Posted on 11/19/2009 11:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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