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OC surgeon returns from trip to help Libyans

March 29, 2011 12:49:26 AM PDT
Dr. Tarek Tumiya is a Libyan-trained trauma surgeon who returned home to Orange County on Monday after spending a month in his home country, putting his skills to work.

He and his brother in law, who's an orthopaedic surgeon, joined a group of other Libyan-American doctors from across the country to travel to Libya and volunteer their services.

"It's really a manslaughter over there, so we had to do something as American Libyans," Tumiya said.

Tumiya treated patients who were for and against Gadhafi. Some were treated for bullet wounds and injuries as a result from explosions.

He said without hesitation that he would return if needed.

At first, he didn't tell his patients he was an American doctor.

"When they heard I came all the way from the United States, I left my family to help, they appreciated it so much," Tumiya said.

Tumiya says while in medical school, he stood up for some school mates who were active politically and opposed Gadhafi. He says he spent a year in jail for that.

He says his mother still lives in Tripoli, but it was too dangerous for him to try and see her.