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Battle Scars: Medicine in Times of War and Disaster

5 min read

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” – Hippocrates


Medical practice plays a huge and amazing role in society. The idea of being able to help and heal people is incredible, which is why I have always had an interest in the medical field. In the medical profession, people dedicate their entire lives to learning how to save the lives of others.  

An example of a person who has dedicated his life to the study of medicine is Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay Gupta is a renowned neurosurgeon and medical correspondent for CNN. Over the years, he has traveled to over 100 countries to give humanitarian aid in times of need, including during natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Since 2001, he has traveled the world, giving aid to victims of tsunamis, earthquakes, and other crises and covering the most important stories in the world.

Battle Scars: Medicine in Times of War and Disaster

A few days ago I went along with some of my friends to see Sanjay Gupta’s program, “Battle Scars: Medicine in Times of War and Disaster.” He started by describing his story of how he became a medical journalist.  

Having just started his job at CNN, Sanjay Gupta was interested in covering the politics of medicine and the healthcare system. He never imagined being on the field and doing reporting, but after the attacks of September 11, 2001 things changed. He was asked to go to New York City to cover the aftermath of the attacks on behalf of CNN. In the program, he said, “When I go on the ground, experience these things first-hand…I learn so much more than I otherwise would.”

He continued to go on to say that in his time in New York he experienced so much optimism from families and that reminded him of how important hope is. He discussed how working in medicine and media for the past 18 years is fascinating, although, at the same time you have to understand when to switch gears from being a reporter on the field to helping others as a doctor. “Putting on the press badge does not remove your humanity,” he explained, “You still want to help people.”

Dr. Gupta went on to talk about his experiences around the world and the people and places he has visited around the world:


Sanjay Gupta talked a lot about his time in Haiti.

Sanjay Gupta went to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He was one of the first people on the ground, before the military or any aid organization. He said it was one of the hardest and darkest moments he had experienced.

He continued to say, “People often ask me which places are the most memorable. Let me tell you something: you don’t forget any of them, I’ve made the deepest connections with people in these places.”

One of the stories that Dr. Gupta is most well known for is his operation on the USS Carl Vinson.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta performed surgery on a 12-year-old Haitian girl with a severe head injury aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Surgeons removed a piece of concrete from the girl’s brain. His team only had one x-ray of the side of the brain. It was a difficult operation but it was a success. The girl had survived a big operation, but he was worried about what the future holds for that girl. Her mother had passed away, her father was injured, and her country was in ruins. He went on to say,

“You have to often ask yourself When you’re covering these stories when you’re talking about these things: what exactly are we hoping to achieve here? What exactly do we think the prospects are going to be for the people that we cover and the stories that we tell about them?”

At the end of his presentation during the Q and A section, he said every time he goes to Haiti he continues to check on the girl and he said she is doing great.


During the war in Iraq, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was embedded with the “devil docs”. Devil docs have one mission. To push deep into enemy territories and to provide medical care for soldiers. Sanjay Gupta and his team came under fire many times, but nothing stopped them from putting their lives on the line to save soldiers. He recalls that during one of his days being stationed in Iraq, there was a severe sandstorm and one soldier had been shot in the head by the enemy. The soldier still had a pulse and Sanjay Gupta was asked to check him out. The gunshot wound was causing the soldier’s brain to fill with blood. To counteract the pressure, he took a sterilized drill and drilled into the soldier’s head in an effort to relieve the pressure and then covered the soldier’s head with an inside of an IV bag.

It was a very rudimentary process, he said, but through it all, the soldier made it back home.


Over the years Dr. Gupta has been driven to tell the important untold stories of the doctors who put their lives on the line to save other people’s lives. He gave insight into how important medicine is and what important role it plays in the world.

It once again showed me that saving lives is a beautiful thing to do and being a doctor is an incredible job, and inspired me to continue to pursue my journey to become a doctor.

Author: Eshan

I am Eshan Vishwakarma. A 17-year-old filmmaker, writer, and, photographer. I am interested in learning about myself, and that is what this blog is for. I write about my journeys, struggles, and aspirations. I also, occasionally, write about topics I truly believe in. Through this blog, I feel a little more connected with my true self. If you are interested, check out the blog and leave a comment if you like the stuff I write. Thank you for coming!

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