What do doctors do when a patient can't pay for life-saving surgery?

Answer by Raed Shakman:

Once while I was on duty in the ER during my residency on a 24 hour shift I noticed something.

There was this kid, around 10 years old, who I noticed was just walking around the ER all day long. So finally when at the middle of the night I realized there was something query about him I decided to figure out what was going on with him, why was he alone in the ER just walking around all day long?

So when I approached him and asked him if I can offer any help I noticed he was really anxious. After him trying to avoid my questions and me insisting to figure out what was his deal he asked if we can talk in a private place.

I took him to one of the offices and he raised his shirt and showed me a scar on his chest that was obviously due to a previous heart surgery.

He admitted that he was looking for the doctor who performed that surgery on him when he was an infant. And asked me where can he find him.

Obviously I knew the surgeon who performed the surgery on that kid. I insisted to know why was he just sitting in the ER all day long looking for that surgeon.

It turns out that the surgeon in question not only operated on that kid for free, but also paid all costs of the surgery (since he didn't have any kind of insurance) and moreover visited his house every couple of months after the surgery to pay his families rent, get them food and clothes (mind you that happened for years).

But for the past year and a half the surgeon didn't show up to that kids house, and his mom didn't have money to pay rent. The reason which he was looking for him.

But the kid didn't know that that surgeon died a year and a half ago, and just collapsed crying when I told him.

The day after I told some of my cardiac surgery friends what happened. It turns out that for the past year and a half since that cardiac surgeon died plenty of people came to the hospital on regular basis asking where he was! Because apparently no one knew that not only did he pay for the surgeries he performed (for those who are unable to pay), but he also made it his mission to also help the whole family in whatever way he could. And not even his wife and kids knew that he did that.

Such an incredible inspiration and a mesmerizing human being.

Edit: I didn't expect this story to spread this fast. The surgeon in question never mentioned what he did to all those poor patients and their families. But since he passed away I think people should know who he was.

He's Dr Muhammad Fayez, a Brigadier-General in the Royal Medical Services of the Jordanian Armed Forces.

He was a Cardiac Surgery Consultant and head of the Cardiac Surgery Department when he passed away at the age of 52 from a heart attack.

His usual day started at 8:00 a.m and ended at 11:00 pm. He was a brilliant, dedicated, humble and polite person who liked to work behind the scenes, not seeking fame or fortune. A true human being.

What do doctors do when a patient can't pay for life-saving surgery?


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