IRAQ: Conscience International Launches New Prosthetic Rehabilitation Program

Mosul refugees checking in for medical treatment — Conscience International Photo

It was a life-changing moment when Matthew Coley stepped into the surgery tent at the emergency field hospital near Mosul, Iraq and saw the eight- month- old infant girl who had lost both her legs above the knee, a victim of an ISIS attack

The former U.S. Navy corpsman was volunteering short-term as staff support with an American NGO. But holding the child in his arms he knew he would be returning to Iraq for a longer stay to help meet the needs of the innocently disabled. The opportunity came when Dr. James Jennings, President of Conscience International, appointed him as Program Director for Prosthetic Rehabilitation, a newly launched platform to help restore hope and some level of normalcy to both children and adults in war-torn Iraq.

After his appointment, Matthew met with U.S. prosthetic manufacturers and with prosthetic program leaders at Baylor's School of Medicine-reputed as the foremost program in the U.S.-researching procedures and partner opportunities so prosthetics might be made in Iraq. He is now in Iraq spearheading a teaching course at Erbil University to assure the program is administered to best serve patients. Later this summer he will return to the U.S. to raise support, then return to Iraq in the fall to inaugurate the program.

Volunteer orthopedic surgeons willing to serve in Kurdistan are being recruited. Donations of equipment are also being sought-particularly knee, hip, spinal, and cochlear implants, a cardiopulmonary machine and a pediatric anesthesia machine. Kurdistan's Barzani government is partnering in the efforts as is Newroz Hospital where the surgeries will take place.

Matthew Coley

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