US-trained emergency doctor Nour al-Jalbout wanted desperately to serve her fellow Lebanese, but less than two years after returning home she says the country’s catastrophes are forcing her to leave.
“I gave everything I had to Lebanon for these two years, but Lebanon is not giving back,” she says, her eyes welling up above three face masks, inside a top Beirut hospital.
“So I applied for immigration to the US,” she said, to take up a job offer at Harvard.
As soon as her visa is approved, she will join hundreds of doctors who are fleeing Lebanon’s political and economic crises, even during a pandemic.
Doctors warn a country once dubbed “the hospital of the Arab world” is haemorrhaging its best and brightest.
Hair tied back into a floral surgeon’s cap, the 32-year-old medic rushes around the bustling emergency department at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.
Her white coat streaked with blood from treating one patient’s gunshot wounds, she holds up an X-ray to understand the pain of another visiting from a nearby Arab country.