Salem, MA- The war and subsequent overthrow of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi resulted in an urgent humanitarian need in Libya with thousands wounded and severely injured. This past Fall in coordination with the US State Department, The Libyan National Transition Council (LNTC) reached out to the experts in rehabilitative care at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network to treat a group of 22 wounded Libyan freedom fighters. On Monday May 14th, representatives from the US State Department with a letter from Secretary of State Clinton returned to Spaulding Hospital North Shore in Salem, the main treatment facility, to thank and honor the Spaulding staff.
A letter excerpt to the Spaulding staff from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton read:
“The men arrived a mere week after my visit to Tripoli where I witnessed firsthand the plight of Libya’s injured war heroes at the Tripoli Medical Center. I was deeply moved by the sacrifices these brave men made to bring freedom to their country and fellow citizens, and remain grateful for your speedy and compassionate response to the Government of Libya’s request for assistance. From counseling your staff on Islamic tradition before patients arrived, to providing them with opportunities to observe their religious obligations, and opening your doors to the Libyan-American community, your efforts in caring for and healing these brave warriors showed the compassion, understanding and dedication that are hallmarks of American values.”
“It was an honor to the entire staff here at Spaulding to work on such an important project at a unique time in our history. To see the improvements that these patients made and bonds created over their time with us only reinforced that all of these efforts were worthwhile,” said Maureen Banks, President, Spaulding Hospital North Shore.
The first group of 22 Libyan war wounded was sent to the Spaulding Hospital North Shore in Salem, Massachusetts on October 29th of 2011. At this time all but a few complex cases requiring additional surgeries and treatment have returned home to Libya rebuild their lives and country. Many of these patients sustained various injuries in the conflict from complex orthopedic injuries, multi-level trauma and nerve damage. The funding for these efforts is provided by the LNTC.
“When these patients returned home they shared stories of the doctors, therapists, nurses and people they met in our country who offered them caring and kindness. Those connections will build cultural bridges between our countries that will be important and long lasting,” said Mark Ward, Deputy Special Coordinator, Office of Middle East Transitions, US State Department.
Also on hand to recognize the Spaulding staff was Libyan Ambassador to the United States Ali Aujali as well as members of the Libyan-American Community.