Abed Al Wahab Al Firikh, Clinical Faculty, Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing

I could see the pain and fear in people’s eyes.


Immediately after the explosion, I was driven by my professional duty to report to the hospital and help in the relief effort. I was helping in the same-day surgery unit with the initial assessment and stabilization of patients.

It was like working in a war-torn building. Overwhelmed by grief for our city and homes, we still had to tend to patients who desperately needed our help. I could see the pain and fear in the eyes of people frantically asking after their loved ones, their sons, daughters, husbands or wives, and I was lost for words. I didn’t have the answers; it was impossible to keep track of the names and faces of all the patients.

Initially, I did not ask for any of my students to be present, and I was surprised to find some of them already in the hospital caring for patients. I felt so proud of their professionalism and commitment to the health of their communities. It was heartwarming to work side-by-side with my students and to see them act with the values that the school of nursing had instilled in them. That’s why I ended up calling on all our students who lived in the area, and they reported to duty in great numbers. I worked with the nursing administration at the hospital to coordinate their presence in areas where they were needed the most.

Nursing students at different levels worked throughout the day and night so that the medical center could accommodate the huge number of casualties within a very short period.