In this op-ed for The Guardian, Dr. Mohamed Ismail Aly shares his perspective as a surgeon the night of the Manchester explosion at the Ariana Grande concert which killed 22 people, and injured many more. “In our job, we have to figure out the most likely scenario. I thought it was probably a terrorist attack, with the perpetrator likely to be identified as a Muslim.” Mr. Aly is from Egypt, trained in Britain, and is a consultant burns and plastic surgeon at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He says that at least six other surgical consultants working that night were also Muslim, plus many other doctors and nurses.
From his op-ed:
“I operated on my first patient at around 1am on Tuesday morning. When I saw my first patient, it was very clear we were dealing with injuries from a bomb. Many of the medical staff had never seen anything like it before. The children had horrific, life-threatening injuries you would normally only see in war zones. I had previous experience dealing with British soldiers returning from Afghanistan when I worked at Broomfield hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, which is a receiving center for the armed forces. Last year I also worked a lot on gunshot wounds at the University of Texas hospital in Galveston, which provided me with the experience to deal with this type of incident.
…. We saw all sorts of horrific injuries, some caused by bolts and other shrapnel, as well as burns. Many of the children have already undergone multiple procedures and will continue to be in my care for many months ahead. All elective surgery has been cancelled since the attack and that will continue into this week.
…. I thought it was probably a terrorist attack, with the perpetrator likely to be identified as a Muslim. It is not simply a misinterpretation of Islam but exactly the opposite of what our religion teaches. There is nothing in Islam that endorses such actions. Islam sanctifies human life. Unfortunately, the Muslim community as a whole has to deal with the consequences.
… Manchester has great ethnic diversity so the hospital staff reflects that. I did wonder if some of the families of our patients might be a bit apprehensive but that wasn’t the case. You could sense from the families and talking to them that this is not part of their thinking. They understand that this attack does not represent the Muslim community.”