Nonprofit organization brings South Florida doctors to Middle East war zones

Doctors perform surgeries, train medical professionals in war zones

MIAMI – Jackson Memorial Hospital has a world-renowned trauma center where physicians and medical professionals help save lives in South Florida.

And now, some of those doctors from JMH and other major medical institutions in South Florida are taking their skills to the Middle East to help save lives in war zones.

"When I say we're bringing top-tier medicine and surgery to the front lines, that's the reality. These are the best surgeons in their field that we can bring there," said Aaron Epstein, president of Global Surgical and Medical Support Group.

Global Surgical and Medical Support Group is a nonprofit organization that recruits surgeons, nurses and medics from the U.S. to volunteer their time treating patients in Middle Eastern war zones, like in Iraq.

"Whether it's gunshots to the extremities or stepping on IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and blast injuries, you have tens of thousands of these, and they're just not able to be taken care of in the region," Epstein said.

Epstein was working in international intelligence when he saw this need, so by mixing his connections in that field with his medical connections as a Georgetown University medical student, he launched the organization back in 2015.

Since then, surgeons, doctors, nurses and combat veteran medics have completed more than 100 complex surgical cases, treated thousands of patients and trained more than 1,000 medical professionals living in Iraq and Kurdistan.

And they do it all for free.

"There's no cost to anybody involved on the ground, but we're doing it on a higher level of quality than they would ever get otherwise," Epstein said.

The organization has brought in surgeons from JMH's Ryder Trauma Center, Kendall Regional Medical Center's trauma center and Holy Cross Hospital.

Their next trip to the Middle East will be in October.

Click here for more information about the organization.


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