In 2007, Dr. Aws Hasan of Syria traveled to Egypt to receive neonatal resuscitation training sponsored by Church Humanitarian Services. This training teaches medical professionals techniques to revive newly delivered infants with breathing difficulties.
The following year, the Church scheduled neonatal resuscitation training in Syria, and Dr. Hasan helped organize and instruct this course in Damascus. His commitment to the NRT program is apparent in an e-mail he recently sent to Church headquarters:
"I'd like to share my happiness with you and acknowledge my debt to all the people who helped me recognize that what we learned to do in the first minute after a baby is born can be worth 10 years of hard work and study."
Dr. Hasan explained that on his seventh day as an anesthesiology resident at Al-Zahrawi Hospital he was called in on the case of a woman who was scheduled for a C-section. It was her first pregnancy, and she seemed anxious. He greeted her by name and patted her shoulder to calm her. She smiled gratefully. He put her to sleep, and the specialist performed the C-section.
Dr. Hasan's letter continued, "When they pulled up the baby girl, the nurse wasn't ready, and it took her a minute to take the little baby to the resuscitation room. I noticed the baby didn't cry. As the nurse rushed through the doors with the baby, I followed the baby with my eyes and ears, but she didn't cry. I realized that something was wrong. I decided to follow her.
"When I got to the resuscitation room, a pediatric resident and a nurse were suctioning the baby, rubbing her back, and giving her oxygen. Watching the baby not moving, unconsciously I put on new gloves and cried, 'This baby needs to be ventilated; this oxygen alone will do her no good.' They both froze, so I grabbed the ventilating bag, repositioned the baby's head, and started ventilating her.
"Holding a one-minute-old, ash-blue, breathless, flaccid baby for the first time, I was scared to death. It's true I've been lecturing and training medical personnel on neonatal resuscitation for two years, but I had not dealt with a real-life situation until that moment. I was thinking what I would tell the poor mother if her baby didn't make it.
"After 30 seconds, I checked the baby again. We got her chest moving and her heart going, and she started to pink up. The three of us breathed a sigh of relief.
"I know that saving a life may seem usual to some, as it is what doctors do; however, for me it will never be usual. I know it wasn't me who saved this little girl. It was God; I was just an instrument in God's hands." — Welfare Services