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Vt. Surgeon Treats Victims Of Syrian War

Courtesy of John Lawrence.
Dr. John Lawrence, performing surgery in the Central African Republic in 2012. Photos were not allowed during his 2013 mission in Syria.

The U.N. reports that two million people have fled the civil war in Syria, and an estimated 4.25 million more people are displaced within Syria. The international organization Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, has been sending physicians into Syria to assist the internally displaced population there and others who need medical treatment.

This fall, as the United States and other countries contemplated military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Vermont surgeon was on the ground in Syria with MSF.

“The patients that we were seeing were from internally displaced camps as well as, potentially, combatants. There was no effort made to select out, or really even identify, where various individuals came from.” - Dr. John Lawrence

John Lawrence is a pediatric surgeon with Fletcher Allen Health Care and a professor of surgery at the UVM College of Medicine. Dr. Lawrence can't disclose the location where he worked in Syria, but he describes to Vermont Edition the surgical hospital that MSF created in order to provide medical treatment. He says many of the patients he treated had burns caused by cooking fires in cramped conditions in a nearby refugee camp.

Vermonters Without Borders

Vermont Edition's interview with John Lawrence is part of a VPR project that invites Vermonters to share their experiences helping others abroad.  Click here to see more stories, and tell us yours.

Patti is an integral part of VPR's news effort and part of the team that created Vermont Edition. As executive producer, Patti supervises the team that puts Vermont Edition on the air every day, working with producers to select and research show ideas, select guests and develop the sound and tone of the program.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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