Saleyha Ahsan, a medical student and journalist, tells us of her experiences last summer on the frontline of the conflict in the Middle East
- By: Saleyha Ahsan
“Put your camera down, and take this man's blood pressure,” said Dr Sabir, as he thrust a sphygmomanometer into my hands. “Be quick, the soldier's coming back.”
I didn't have time to explain that my skills at taking blood pressure were limited to physiology practicals in my first year. Faced with both kit and expectant patient, I recalled last year's sessions with fellow Dundee medical students and, to my surprise, managed to get some useable readings. “Great,” I thought, “It works.”
I was spending my summer break from medical school in Palestine, wearing the double hat of film-maker and medic with the United Palestine Medical Relief Committee. This long running non-government organisation has been supplying medical and humanitarian aid throughout the West Bank since the first intifada of the 1980s and has branches in every city.
During my two month stay I experienced life close to the edge because Nablus