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Memoirs of an Abused General Surgery Medical Student, Part II (and a few other things)

September 6, 2006

kr’s note #1: Darul Qasim is pleased to announce the first two lectures of the Friday night lecture series will take place this coming Friday and the following one before Ramadan. Inshallah, the Fall lecture series will cover the history and significance of the four great Imams, especially in terms of their relevance to the modern Muslim condition. The first two weeks are titled, “Who Are Our Aslaf?”, and will focus on the life and works of Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (rahimahullah). The talks will be given by Shaykh Amin from 7:30 – 9 pm… and quite possibly may include a discussion of “what exactly does it mean to be a salaf?”….

fall 2006 dq class flyer

kr’s note #2: I normally don’t post my talks, but I’ve received many requests in the past few days to share and post my Saturday night talk for MYNA titled “Finding MySpace” online so that people can re-listen to it, or if they were unable to attend (since there was some confusion as to the exact room location). People allege that it was good, and if it has any benefit, then alhamdulillah, all that benefit is strictly from Allah and I was nothing more than a medium for that.

Please right-click and save as… this is a large file, please conserve bandwidth so that others can also listen to this.


Kamran Riaz – “Finding MySpace”
MYNA Conference at ISNA 2006
Saturday, September 2, 2006
7.65 MB | 33:26 minutes
mp3 format

And now for a few stories….

Gunshot Wound Story #1: Christ Hospital is a Trauma I center, which means that essentially all trauma cases in the south suburbs and parts of the southside of Chicago get sent over to Christ… that translated to my seeing a lot of gunshots, stabbings, baseball bats to the head, etc. The funny thing is that I thought I’d get freaked out by seeing someone shot with blood all over the place, but I didn’t… it felt like a movie. I guess all those critics that say you shouldnt watch violent movies and play bloody video games were wrong… I think watching that sort of carnage made me calm and able to deal with such real-life situations. I’ll never forget the first gunshot victim I saw: an African American male in his mid-thirties, he was shot in the right groin area and the bullet had exited through his left buttock. When we saw him, he had already lost 2 liters of blood (the human body as about 5-6 L of blood), and he was in pretty lousy shape. Amazingly enough, they were able to stop the bleeding and stabilize him enough to take him to the OR. The bullet had lacerated his left femoral vein and artery, which needed to be repaired lest he bleed to death. I got to scrub in on the surgery, even though it was a vascular case… it was one of the coolest surgeries I ever saw: blood everywhere, the surgeons desperately trying to stop the bleeding as they quickly try to stitch together blood vessels (which is amazingly difficult, especially if you have a vessel that’s squirting blood as you try to stitch it up). The guy lost 3 L of blood during the surgery, had to be transfused multiple times… but thankfully, survived. A few hours after the surgery, I went in to go talk to him, to find out what happened, how’d he get shot, etc.

He said:  “Man, I woke up, I went out to my porch and I was just sitting there, drinkin my beer, and mindin’ my own bid-ness”
Me: “You were sitting there… and then what happened?”
Him: “Like I said, I was mindin’ my own bid-ness… and then all of a sudden, I just… I just got shot! Just like that, bam!”
Me: “That must have been terrible, sir, I’m sorry to hear that.”
Him: “Yeah, but you wanna know what the worst part about all this is?”
Me: “What?”
Him: “I didn’t get to finish my damn beer.”

And that was the funniest thing about the vast majority of the gunshot victims that I saw. Most of them would all be minding their own business, never looking for trouble… exemplary and model citizens of virtue, no doubt, and they would “all of a sudden get shot.” One of the residents mentioned, “they should also add, ‘I was on my way to church to teach blind kids how to read and then go work at the soup kitchen.” And the funniest was the comment one of the attendings said: “What’s the most dangerous activity that one can do these days? … Minding your own business, because that’s how you get shot.”

Gunshot Wound Story #2: On one of the Saturdays that I was on call, the ambulance brought in a young black male who had been shot in the head. The story here was that this poor fellow had a history of psychiatric illness. Earlier that day, he got into a big fight with his mom; afterwards, he went out into the backyard where his brother-in-law was gardening, looked at the brother in law and said, “hey, watch this”. He then pulled out a handgun, put it to the side of his own head, and shot himself, right in front of the brother in law. When he came in, he had a gaping hole in the left side of his head that was caked in dried blood. He was dead on arrival, and we went through the motions to resuscitate him for about 5 minutes. He was then whisked away to quickly harvest his organs, including his heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. because he was an organ donor. I guess the point of this story was the background as to how he got shot, and also my first gunshot victim that I saw that got shot in the head. Again, it definitely wasn’t pretty, but Hollywood had done an excellent job preparing me for it. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Gunshot Wound Story #3 (names have been changed): Late one night, the paramedics brought in yet another young black male that had been shot, this time twice in the head. He too was pretty much dead on arrival, and we went through the motions of reviving him before declaring him dead after 5 minutes. The reason why this story sticks out was what happened afterwards. We went to go and speak to the family to tell them the bad news. I remember walking in along with the two residents (one ER, one surgery) and seeing the mother and younger brother of the deceased seated on the couch in the private room. The mother was quite calm–I think she was hoping for the best. The surgery resident then told her what happened, how her son was brought in, where he was shot, etc… he ended by saying, “…despite our best efforts at resuscitation, we were unsuccessful in obtaining any signs of life. We regret to inform you that your son, (name here), died at 12:48 AM this morning.” The mother jumped out of her chair, emotionally wailing and distraught about her loss, as perhaps any mother would. She began to beat the walls out of grief, and luckily, the security guard that came in with us, caught hold of her and made her sit down, got her some tissues, calmed her down. She continued to sob for about 5 minutes before finally calming down. She then took out her cell phone, called some one named “Marcus” and said, “Marcus, Chris dead… they killed Chris… my son is dead… you know what to do, you know who did this, you have my permission, go ahead and do it.” And she hung up the phone. I was shocked, with my jaw on the floor, bewildered that this woman that was crying hysterically five minutes ago was now basically calling in a hit. Since she hadn’t said anything explicit, there was nothing the police officer could do. We quietly left the room, and the ER resident shook his head sadly and said, “It’s going to be a long night tomorrow night.”


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  1. Another memoir set? …too bad it’s not summer break…

  2. Anonymous permalink

    wow…so you’ve resorted to putting your talks on xanga to get married huh?
    will someone please just go ahead and marry kr?  next we know he’ll be posting pictures of himself in his tighty whities…sheesh…
    and thanks for the shout out in the first speech…last time i wake up really early to come to one of your lectures…jerk

  3. wow.. right now i dont know what to say .. story #3… just wow

  4. i loved the stories. as for the third story – man….that’s shocking the way the way different human beings react to traumatic events such as losing a loved one.
    even more amazing that when faced with mortality – some of us rather than thinking about our own mortality have the ability to do things that will hurt us when we do have to face of our own deaths
    the order from the mother almost reminds me of pre-islamic arabia 😦

  5. ^damn, i got pwned by shaykh nazim =)

  6. it’s 12:47 AM (Toronto time)….yo kr…dude…i just heard the whole speech….masha allah…i was touched…seriously….i feel your pain bro….that story of that sister was heart breaking….
    you just might want to edit/delete the wasahibatihi wa akheehi part….all in all….it’s been a long time since I last heard a well delivered touching speech like that…keep them coming bro….you have to be someone special to me for me to listen to a 30 minute speech 🙂

  7. haha, minding their own business..silly rabbits

  8. ok gooood, i didnt get to hear the speech and heard it was really good (mA) so thanks.  and wow to the stories… i gotta read the post before too.  i’m likin the stories bit.  thats pretty interesting how hollywood can prepare you for such events… like u said, i dunno if thats good or bad, but definitely an interesting concept.

  9. why do you try so hard to sound like hamza yusuf when speaking? why don’t you just sound like yourself? it really takes away from what you’re trying to convey.

  10. Wow… to the talk.
    And double wow to the stories
    As for sounding like Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, there’s bits of that when you talk… but as they say, if you’re going to try to be like someone, try to be like the best.

  11. I listened to your speech and Mashallah, it was very inspiring. I’m always amazed at your ability to interweave Quran, Hadith, and pop culture into a coherent whole. The story about Nizamiyah University was my favorite.

  12. You guys remember Dr.Syed M. Syeed, . His cheesy slogans will forever have a place in my heart:CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS?!NO!! NO!!DIALOGE OF CIVILIZATIONS?!YES!! YES!!

  13. The story about the guy who shot himself… that sent a chill down my spine as I read that. SubhanAllah
    The “Currently Reading” book… you should tell us how that is, it looks interesting. Is it a Muslim tale or a Jewish tale?
    Did you record the session you did with Imam Zaid Shakir as well? That speech was also MashAllah great, please post that too.

  14. kr, jazakumullah for carrying out my request.  I appreciate it. 
    also, I’m sure kr is not trying to sound like Shaykh Hamzah Yusuf intentionally…..just because someone sounds like SHY doesn’t mean a person is “trying so hard” to imitate or copy SHY…and what’s wrong with imitating SHY anyway?….in my above comment…i was going to write that the last time I heard a speech which really moved me was by SHY…and kr’s speech is the next one after that….what comes from the heart…goes to the heart….insha allah I’m gonna have our students at listen to your speech….
    insha allah….i’ll try to respond to your email as soon as possible…

  15. Like I told you earlier, probably the best speech I’ve ever heard you give.The three stories are better heard then read. Glad I got to hear them first.

  16. What are the other dates for the DQ lectures? Will that be after Ramadan, I’m assuming?

  17. After listening to most of the talk, i think you actually sound a lot like Dr. ‘Umar in your speaking style.
    “hookah smoking is idiotic.” hahaha! Hey kr, there’s a new place near my house called the “Ugly Hookah Cafe” which serves zabiha meat. Yes, that’s spelled correctly. Care to go? 

  18. darul qasim zindabad!

  19. alti: actually, if you read the comments, i posted it only due to people’s requests. and as far as getting married, i think we all know that i dont need to resort to anything for that to happen. and the tighty whitey pictures were only for you sweetie.mawlana nazim: jazakallah khayr for the kind words and input shaykh. make du’a for me… and start mishkat with me =).sayeed: i think mawlana nazim replied already, but i dont “try so hard” to do that. i guess ive listened to a lot of shaykh hamza talks and because i admire and love the man, perhaps his influence has affected my speaking style to the point now that when i speak, i unconsciously do that. i dont think i really sound like him, and i say that more because if i did, it’d be an insult to him (just like when people say i recite like sudais). i dont intentionally try to speak like him. nonetheless, his style is mashallah amazing and effective, and i can only yearn to be a fraction of the man he is.asad, queensarah, fudge, ilmaddict, believer2: thanks for the kind words guys. im glad that you enjoyed the stories… it’s not something that you’ll see everyday, im sure =).omar: hahaha dude, i wonder if sayyid sayeed actually sits there before ISNA and asks himself, “how can i come up with an even cheesier slogan?” cause that man always outdoes himself year after year. but mashallah, he’s been with isna for like forever and his good work shouldnt be overlooked… but he’s hilarious, he always brings a smile to my face with his fobby ways. i found it hilarious (and somewhat sad) that for a speech of Khatami that had an international audience, the moderator was a mr. sayeed, a fob who couldnt speak proper english…. that’s ISNA in a nutshell, if you think about it.almusafir: it’s a Muslim tale, written by the Sufi order “Ikhawan al-Safa”… it was translated into Latin by a rabbi for a Christian king… and now it’s been translated into English by two rabbis and illustrated by a Muslim woman from india, commission by a saudi princess, and published by a christian publisher from kentucky… a truly interfaith work =). it’s pretty amazing thus far, and i think ill write a review on it when im done.kaz: wait till i post your favorite story… you know, the peri-rectal abscess one =)ibnabume: yes, they will be after Ramadan. once more info becomes available, i’ll post itsadiq: haha, i wonder what imran hussaini has to say about that question =). as far as the cafe, dude, as long as its zabiha meat… that’s gotta make everything ok, right? lets go!sanna: did you read the post or just comment on the flyer =)

  20. “essentially all trauma cases in the south suburbs and parts of the southside of Chicago get sent over to Christ… “…I dont know sounds a bit…cant find the word I am looking for…let me just say…wierd…
    I dont know, but it was a bit hard to hear the thingy…maybe it was little echo thingy in the background…still alhamdulilah a good speech…that last bit was especially good…
    EE’s random comment: does hookah have a Qaaf or a Kaaf? The first time you said it with a Qaaf…I think…
    Your initials are officially CR…
    …my name is so close to an English name that they go ahead and change it on my certificates, school and medical records…they do me a favour, cause apparently I mis-spell my own name…
    I feel for the African American lady…but she could have told the police about the person, rather than taking the law in her hands…

  21. I listen to your talk, thanks for sharing it. your posts are beginniing to sound ER episodes =)

  22. Ouch. Afterthoughts? Anyone who can do surgery or deal with trauma/ER sittuations are probablly emotionally a wreck or at a stage of indifference. My mom’s a doc; she’s a strong woman.

  23. you know, i think you should have a website that compiles all your talks for freeloaders like me 🙂  but who knows, maybe you already do and i just dunno about it.  props again for a sweet talk, mA.

  24. heyyy salaam, i downloaded the speech you gave 🙂

  25. are you today i hope that every things is okwithyou as is my pleassure to contact you after viewingyour profile in love.www.really interest me in having communication with youifyou will have the desire with me so that we canget toknow each other better and see what happened infuture.i will be very happy if you can write me through myemail for easiest communication and to know allabouteach other here is my email ( will be waiting tohear from you as i wish you all the best for yourday.yours new friend. blessing

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