Dr. Saad Saad is an accomplished pediatric surgeon based in Eatontown, New Jersey. He has had a highly successful career in bringing expertise and innovation to the medical field. His skill has attracted the attention of other doctors, humanitarian groups, and even that of the Saudi Royal Family, leading Dr. Saad to perform surgery for a large number of patients during his career.
Three Surgeries on Palestine Children in the U.S.
In 2002, Dr. Saad was approached by the PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund). The PCRF is a non-political, non-profit organization that was founded in 1991 to help address the medical needs of Arab children in the Middle East. The organization needed a doctor to perform surgery on a 15-year-old child who suffered a gunshot wound in the West Bank. The doctors at a local Israeli hospital saved the child’s life, but his injuries were too complicated to be further treated locally. The PCRF, as a result, found Dr. Saad and flew the child to the United States to have surgery.
Dr. Saad indeed described the 15-year-old to be in dire condition when he arrived in the United States. The boy had holes in his belly from the gunshot, resulting in burning of his skin and trouble eating. In early 2003, Dr. Saad performed a complicated seven-hour surgery on the child, patching up the holes and repairing the internal injuries. The surgery went extremely well for the patient.
In May of 2010, Dr. Saad performed another surgery on a child from the West Bank—a girl born with her intestines exposed to the outside. For 18 months, the local doctors in Palestine struggled to help the child overcome her condition. The PCRF sent the girl to the US for Dr. Saad to perform surgery on her. Dr. Saad was able to create a “Fig leaf cover ” in layman’s terms, for the girl and cover up the entire exposed abdominal area. The surgery took five hours, but the end result helped the child greatly.
Then, in June of 2013, the PCRF approached Dr. Saad with another child in need of surgery. A boy from the Gaza Strip was hit by a bomb and had one of his legs paralyzed. The boy was a good soccer player before, but now he was confined to a wheelchair and could not move his paralyzed leg anymore. What the child needed was a nerve transplant surgery to be able to move his paralyzed leg again. Since Dr. Saad himself is not a nerve doctor, he found a qualified surgeon and did everything to facilitate the boy receiving the best medical care possible. With the help of Dr. Saad, the boy received a nerve transplant in the U.S. and 11 months later walked to the airport on his own legs to play soccer in Gaza Strip.
Eight Medical Missions in Palestine
After the surgery that he performed on the child suffering from a bullet wound in 2003, Dr. Saad was asked by the PCRF to travel to Palestine and perform surgery locally. The organization was impressed with Dr. Saad’s skills and knew they could further use his help.
Dr. Saad first went to Palestine in May of 2008, taking a plane from Newark NJ to Tel Aviv and driving to the West Bank from there. His mission was to help the poor and underprivileged who could not afford to get medical help locally. He has since traveled to Palestine seven more times, in April of 2009 and 2010, June of 2010 and 2011, February of 2012, April of 2013, and May of 2015.
Dr. Saad outlined his three main reasons for personally traveling to Palestine:
1) Primarily, as mentioned above, Dr. Saad wanted to treat the underprivileged people who could not afford or have access to treatment otherwise. Dr. Saad wanted to bring the skills he has learned in the U.S. directly to Palestine with his medical missions.
2) Dr. Saad also wanted to pass down some of the skills he has learned during his career to the young Palestinian pediatric surgeons as well he trained them during all of his missions, to ensure they themselves can better help the locals after Dr. Saad departed. On Dr. Saad’s first trip in May of 2008, the local surgeons mainly observed him perform surgery, helping out with only a small part of the procedure. However, by May of 2015 during Dr. Saad’s last trip, the local surgeons performed the majority of the surgery themselves, leaving Dr. Saad to observe their performance and guide them to end with safe surgeries and good outcomes.
3) Lastly, Dr. Saad wanted to help the local Palestinian economy during his mission trips. Most countries don’t perform surgery for free. For example, when Palestinians travel to Israel for surgery, the cost of surgery is deducted from the taxes collected by Israel from Palestinian people on the behalf of Palestine. These taxes then go towards the Palestinian economy
The. U.S. and some European countries perform surgery for free, but the travel costs associated with moving patients there can be extremely expensive on their own. By performing surgery in Palestine and by training future local surgeons there, Dr. Saad could help patients and the government avoid paying for much of the treatment costs.
Dr. Saad has received two official awards for his efforts to help the people of Palestine. In 2010, the PCRF awarded Dr. Saad with the organization’s Humanitarian Award. Additionally, the Ministry of Health, Governer of Ramallah also presented him with an award for his humanitarian services.
Dr. Saad has also been recognized for his efforts by political leaders. In a surprise visit, after being told simply that he was going to be meeting with a VIP, Dr. Saad was received by the President of Palestine, Mr.Mahmoud Abbas, during his last medical mission in 2015 . In addition to giving Dr Saad personal thanks he was given the Gold Medal of Palestine for his work.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Saad Saad has performed complex pediatric surgeries in the United States and in the Middle East. He has helped train and educate future doctors in many communities, leading to improvements in the lives of children all over the world. Although he is now retired, his influence and his hard work continue to make a difference in the lives of patients.