RUTBAH, Iraq --
The city of Rutbah resides in the middle of the rural, western Al Anbar province. The people of this city have come to love a man who has changed and influenced the health care in the city and surrounding areas.
Dhea Mijwal Shami Maadahidi, the surgeon and manager of the Rutbah General Hospital, has worked tirelessly to ensure the health of others.
“I love my job because of the procedures I’m able to do to make this city a healthier place,” said Dhea, 38, from Baghdad, Iraq.
After receiving his certification in Baghdad, Dhea has spent the last six years treating patients here. Since arriving, he has helped rebuild the old hospital, which had been destroyed by previous conflicts, and boosted the medical program from conducting only minor surgeries to major surgeries as well.
“We have been able to do many great things at the hospital, including [repairing] the walls, acquiring new equipment, and in the future, building housing for long-term patients,” said Dhea. “This hospital was destroyed at one point, and now it’s back and running.”
The new hospital has been open for close to a year, and Dhea operates with 24 patient rooms, two surgical theatres and 10 outpatient recovery rooms. Hundreds of patients are treated everyday in the Rutbah General Hospital, and challenges are faced in regards to supplies. Although advanced medical supplies are hard to acquire, which presents a high level of stress for the staff, Dhea remains optimistic of their capabilities.
“For the supplies we possess, we make the best of it,” said Dhea said. “We still have a lot of improvement to make here to be able to perform better as a hospital. Once the situation improves, the city government will provide us with more funding for medical equipment.”
For his first five years at the hospital, Dhea was the only doctor with others occasionally coming and going to assist him. He has treated sicknesses ranging from common colds to fatal diseases without hesitation. Because of his hard work in the hospital and for the people of Rutbah, the respect for him has spread throughout the community.
“Everybody in this city loves and respects Doctor Dhea because he’s provided a lot more than just being a doctor,” said Nozar Jamil Yasseen, 32, a radiologist at the Rutbah Hospital and Dhea’s assistant. “He’s had more success than any other manager in the history of [the hospital] and has established a huge influence in our city council.”
The hospital now has seven doctors, and Dhea has begun projects with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, to provide medical assistance to the cities of Nukayb and Akashat. According to Dhea, these projects help benefit the people who don’t have the luxury of a doctor.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to go to these towns and provide health assistance that is hard to come by for those people,” said Dhea. “I always like to do good things for people and increase their hope in my work.”
Although he plans to leave Rutbah to practice his specialty, abdominal surgery, in Baghdad, the people of the city have been more to Dhea than just patients – they’re also his family.
“I’ve had a great relationship with the city of Rutbah; they care for me more than I care for them I think sometimes,” he said. “Whenever they come to thank me, they tell me they will pray for me, and that’s all the thanks I need for my work.”