Why I opted to work for a humanitarian organization in a war-torn country


Well, I could say the main reason is because I want to eliminate human suffering and be “the savior of the world,” but that would only be partially true.

For me the reason is also to fill a void, to find answers, created by a certain personal loss. The need for adventure — and the adrenaline junkie that emergency medicine makes me — added fuel to that fire.

Not to forget being a millennial, the ease with which I get bored of one task, job or activity; creates this constant urge to find “something new to do.” I am extraverted and inquisitive, fueling my love of exploring cultures. I want to work with a multicultural team from across the world keeping their differences aside while focusing on one goal only — healing patients! I want to break ethnical stereotypes and realize that there is more to the world than regionalism, racism and extremism.


The partial truth

Embarking to, a war torn land still full of hope,

So cautiously, I packed my bag and stethoscope,



Then I was asked, “Why would you go,

To a treacherous mission, of fire and foe?”

While I tried, genuinely, to introspect


They mused along, curiously, yet circumspect

“Maybe he is a silent selfless savior”

“Bravo to his very saintly behavior”


Amidst the applause, my face shone, my honor grew,

Yet I confessed, that reason was, but partially true;

I go to seek answers,

Fill a painful void.

Un-break an ailing heart,

That felt it was toyed.


A purpose much deeper,

Now I could find,

Hopefully leaving my,

Petty sorrows behind.

Maybe it is just,

A Frenzied millennial blue;

We ever keep wanting,

“Something new to do”!

Maybe it’s the travel bug,

That makes us tipsy;

And we can justify it,

Being a humanitarian gypsy!

Maybe it’s to see the good,

In every human being,

Beyond a region, race and religion,

And any such shameful ill-feeling.


Maybe it’s the ER,

The promise it could belie,

We go in its pursuit,

For the adrenaline high.


And it begs to be said,

Just once again,

I will rid the world,

Of suffering and pain.


But I must confess,

Solemnly to you;

That reason for my mission

Is only, partially true.



Murtuza Ghiya, MD, MRCEM is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine.


  1. Mark L Plaster MD on

    Beautifully written and bravely insightful. Thanks for allowing us to see into your heart. If you are ever in Annapolis, Maryland I’d love to host you and hear more of your stories and insights. I, too, have been to remote parts of the world practicing my skills. And, as you note, the motivations are many, but rich nonetheless.

    • Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot.

      I failed to follow up on the article, as the final edition did not show up on my email.

      I was clearing my inbox when I saw the trail and was pleasantly surprised to see your comments.

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

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