Mon, 04/16/2012

In Libyan Civil Unrest Severley Wounded Architect Treated at Martin Luther Hospital

The Libyan architect Rabea A. (30) was hit by a grenade and seriously injured when he joined the forces that fought against the troops of Muammar Qaddafi.

He can still hear the desperate cries ringing in his ears: "He's dead, he's dead!" With a last effort Rabea A. succeeded to move his eyelids. Men seized his body, carried it away. In Berlin's Martin Luther Hospital the Libyan finally was rescued.

A. Rabea has got his strength back, he can smile again. How serious his injuries were, however, shows the huge scar on his abdomen. The incident happened in August 2011. In his hometown Zawia the architect had fought against Qaddafi's troops. He did not see the grenade nor did he feel any pain. He only remembers cries. "I thought I had died," Rabea A. remembers. "I heard voices saying they would put me with the dead bodies. I wanted to give a sign, but could not." Then he managed to open his eyes. "Through the enormous wound in my belly I could see my organs …", he recalls. Initially he was taken care of temporarily on the site, later in a hospital in Tunisia. The International Office of Paul Gerhardt Diakonie brought Rabea A. last October to Professor Jan Langrehr (49), chief of abdominal surgery at Martin Luther Hospital. "That was a challenge," says the doctor. "The gunshot wound was sutured, but he had an infection we had to stop." In addition Rabea A. had lost five meters (that is four fifths) of his small intestine. "His condition was critical," says Prof. Langrehr. In a four-hour operation, he and his team removed fragments from the gut, the site of the infection and sewed the end of the small intestine back on the gut. The patient was given high doses of drugs to sustain the procedure. It worked! Rabea A. recovered. He says: "My time to die has not come yet. But my time to help other people has just begun."

The original article appeared in the Berlin Tabloid 'B.Z.' and can be read here.