Vassar doctor saves life of 4-year-old in Lebanon - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Vassar doctor saves life of 4-year-old in Lebanon

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VASSAR (WJRT) - (05/29/14) - Moved by pictures and news reports covering the conflict in Syria, a local doctor decided to help.

He made the dangerous trip to the war stricken region, it was a mission that saved a 4-year old's life.

Dr. Lawrence Whiting, of Vassar, took the trip earlier this month.

He went by himself, had no solid plans - not even a place to stay - only a will to heal those hurting.

"I would just have a sort of pull in my heart anytime I seen anything on the Syrian refugees," he said.

Determined to help, Dr. Whiting did something many doctors wouldn't dare. He packed his bags and traveled to Lebanon - alone.

A brave quest that put him in the path of men, women and children in desperate need of care.

"There is no organization in these camps, it just 40-50 people, maybe more, everybody shooting, they wanted to be treated, just chaos," he said.

Whiting setup camp at the Lebanon-Syrian border. He found shelter in tents and slept on mattresses around strangers.

He met Johnnie Hays, a man with no medical background but who was also doing what he could to help the suffering.

"The Syrians aren't helping, the Lebanese aren't really helping and the United Nations aren't really helping these groups," Whiting said.

While lending a hand, Whiting was introduced to Kahlid Walid Juma, a very sick 4-year-old with a life-threatening heart condition.

"I just had the sense that he was not going to live too much longer," Whiting said.

He reached out to the Frankenmuth International Aid Foundation, which donated $8,000 to pay for Kahlid's urgent surgery at a medical center in Beirut.

"If he thought it was the right thing to do, the foundation is here to support Larry," said Bill Zehnder, of the Frankenmuth International Aid Foundation.

The doctor's quick actions and the generous donation kept little Kahlid's heart pumping.

It was a life-saving mission trip that Dr. Whiting says he knows in his heart he'll make again.

"It was probably the most difficult three weeks I've had in my life, and yet it was perhaps the most rewarding," he said.

Whiting plans to begin another mission trip to Honduras on Friday. He says the medical skills he taught in Lebanon will allow other refugees to get the help they need.
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