UAE- Meet the surgeon who fasts while operating on patients

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) One may wonder, do surgeons fast during the holy month of Ramadan, and if so, how are they capable of conducting long hours of life-saving operations on empty stomachs - even without a sip of water?

Meet the surgeon who is doing just it not only this year but every Ramadan since he became a doctor.

DrOsama Farouk Al Harastani, consultant urology and deputy chief medical officer at Universal Hospital, told Khaleej Times that many people might think surgeons do not fast while operating, but in fact, many of them do.

"I am still operating in Ramadan as I would on any other day," he said.

"Doctors should not blame Ramadan for any changes in their energy levels, because if they have their meals during Iftar and Suhoor and drink a good amount of water, they will not feel a great deal of difference."

DrAl Harastani, who moved to the UAE from Syria five years ago, said his energy levels remain the same while operating patients. The father of three said that eating at Suhoor time is key for any surgeon who has patients and lives depending on him. "If you don't have your Suhoor meal, you will certainly feel exhausted the next day."

He said the number of patients in Ramadan usually decrease, and the flow of the patients and the load of the work differs compared to regular days.

"Even though we are working fewer hours, we don't feel big changes in our duties as surgeons."

He said he receives between 15-20 patients during Ramadan, but on regular days the numbers can increase to 20-30 patients per day.

DrAl Harastani stressed that he performs his surgeries in the morning when his energy levels are still high. The longest surgery done during this Ramadan was conducted on the second day, which took four hours to complete. "Since surgeries start at9am, it is easier for the surgeon. If they begin in the afternoon or evening, it might be more difficult for the surgeon, because his energy and sugar levels will decrease."

WhenDrAl Harastani arrives home from work, he would spend time with his children, which he says is one of hisfavouritemoments of Ramadan.

"Ramadan allows us to have more time with our families because we have less working hours and fewer patients, and spending time with my family is what's most important for me."

He said the family would gather together for Iftar, where they usually have traditional Arabic and Syrian meals, including lentil soup, fattoushandtaboulasalads, as well as 'mahshi', which consists a variety of vegetables stuffed with rice, meat, herbs, sauces and spices.

After Iftar, the surgeon makes his way to Taraweeh prayers, then coming home to light sweets, fruits and drinks.

For Suhoor,DrAl Harastani prefers to eat something light, instead of feasting on a heavy or oily meal, which can cause him to feel dehydrated and tired the following day at work.

"I usually make a plate filled with watermelon and Arabic cheese, which is afavouriteof ours," he added.

DrAl Harastani said that although many people might have different perceptions on whether doctors can perform surgeries while fasting, he said doctors are capable of doing their job right, whether it is before or after Ramadan, as long as they are healthy and are physically and mentally fit.

"The most important advice that I can give, is to follow a healthy diet, especially during Ramadan, so you don't feel tired and incapable of doing your job correctly, especially if there are patients depending on you."


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