Mount Sinai doc spearheads effort to help Beirut hospital

When Dr. George Wanna saw how devastated St. George Hospital University Medical Center was by an explosion that shook Beirut, he felt a need to help his hometown. 

The Aug. 4 blast in the city’s harbor ravaged St. George’s, so Wanna launched a GoFundMe page to help the hospital, where a good friend of his, Dr. Alexander Nehme, is chief medical officer.

At deadline, more than $86,600 had been raised, with a goal of $100,000. 

“This is the first time in their 140-year history when St. George’s Hospital was damaged so severely that it is unable to function,” said Wanna, chair of the otolaryngology department at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York. 
St. George Hospital even remained open during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, a conflict that wracked Beirut and forced Wanna to spend much of his childhood in bomb shelters. 

Wanna is also working with Mount Sinai to send medical supplies. “St. George Hospital is in need of everything needed to run a hospital—beds, ventilators, protective equipment.” 

The tragedy also affected Wanna’s family; his parents weren’t home when the blast struck and were unharmed. But “my parents’ home was severely damaged by the blast. Sadly, we lost the lives of several of my dad’s relatives,” he said via email. 

Wanna, who spent his residency at Mount Sinai, is grateful to the system. “They have given me a chance to have the kind of life I could never have hoped for—they helped me build a home and a life in this great country.” 

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