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Former ‘boat person’ now a leading orthopaedic surgeon

Britain's Prince Harry, left, and Assoc. Prof. Munjed Al Muderis, right,  visit patients who have lost limbs and have had prosthetics fitted at the Macquarie University Clinic in Sydney, Australia Thursday, May 7, 2015. Photo Peter Parks/Pool Photo via AP

Britain’s Prince Harry, left, and Assoc. Prof. Munjed Al Muderis, right, visit patients who have lost limbs and have had prosthetics fitted at the Macquarie University Clinic in Sydney, Australia Thursday, May 7, 2015. Photo Peter Parks/Pool Photo via AP

The news is regularly filled with the horrors of war, of death and mutilation, of soldier casualties and refugees fleeing for their lives, and the cruelty of detention centres.

But then there are the stories of people who come through these incredible hardships to make positive change in the world, such as the inspiring story of former Lismore Base Hospital intern, Dr Munjed Al Muderis.

In his book Walking Free, Associate Professor Al Muderis details his story of escape from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, via people smuggler boat and detention on Christmas Island, to becoming a leading orthopaedic specialist transforming the lives of former soldiers.

This remarkable 15-year journey included a period as a medical intern at Lismore Base Hospital and Dr Al Muderis has made time in his busy schedule to return to Lismore on 28th November for a special author’s talk at Goonellabah Library.

In 1999 Dr Al Muderis was a trainee surgeon in Iraq when and he was ordered to cut off the tops of the ears of army deserters. Unable to carry out this cruelty he fled via Jordan and Java and over-crowded people smuggler boat to Christmas Island where he was held in detention for nine months.

Now 15 years after starting his medical training again, Dr Al Muderis is an orthopaedic specialist pioneering a new form of prosthesis that is transforming the lives of amputees, including soldiers mutilated in the Iraq War.

It was during his time at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital that Dr Al Muderis fulfilled his dream to become an orthopaedic robotics limb surgeon. He is now one of the world’s leading specialists in Osseo integration, a procedure which involves using titanium implants instead of old socket prosthesis.

In 2013, British Iraq War hero and double amputee Michael Swain flew to Australia for treatment after hearing about Dr Al Muderis innovative procedure. And the former soldier invited the doctor to be by his side when he walked up to receive his MBE from The Queen in June last year.

From Iraq to Christmas Island to Buckingham Palace, it has been quite a journey.

Hear first-hand Dr Al Muderis’s inspiring story at Goonellabah Library on November 28 from 7pm.


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