Picture of Moustapha AbouSamra, MD

Moustapha AbouSamra, MD

The Ups and the Downs

Editor's Report

February was a month of many happy/celebratory occasions but also a month of devastating tragedy.

On February 6 at 4:17 AM, local time, Southern Turkey – Now formally Türkiye – and Northwest Syria were struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake followed by hundreds of aftershocks as well as a second 7.5 earthquake leading to massive damage and many, many fatalities – at least 48,000 – and injuries. It was and is a veritable humanitarian disaster and is still unfolding. The strongest earthquake in more than 80 years struck an area still reeling from the aftermath of the civil war in Syria. The Northwestern Syrian’s infrastructure is already badly damaged, with millions of IDR – Internally displaced Refugees/Syrians, and about a million Syrian refugees in the Gaziantep Turkish Provence, the quake’s epicenter. And to make matters worse, the quake struck during a winter storm with freezing weather. I still have family members who live in Tartous, Northwest Syria. Thankfully they were not harmed. Please see a short account of the causes of this earthquake in ”Tidbits.”

As to causes for celebration:

  • February is Black History Month
  • On February 6, a Texas Court agreed with AANS/CNS and TMA – Texas Medical Association, and other organizations that the final Administration’s interpretation/ruling of the No Surprise Act was in error and that the final rules “improperly restrict arbitrators’ discretion and unlawfully tilt the arbitration process in favor of the QPA.”  Accordingly, the court found that “the Department impermissibly altered the Act’s requirements” and directed the Administration to issue final rules consistent with the court’s decision.Of course, the Administration may appeal this decision.
  • Valentine’s Day is now celebrated everywhere on February 14, even in Saudi Arabia – please see the tidbits section. And please see the photo below from Pakistan.

But it was not always this way. When I left Syria in 1972, there was no such celebration. And being the hopelessly romantic type, I was overjoyed to learn about this lovely holiday in 1973 since I was already seriously dating Joanie, the love of my life.  I have since celebrated it “religiously.” My life is now blessed with many Valentines, as I hope yours is also.

  • Langston Holly and Dr. John Ratliff will join Dr. Javed Siddiqi on the Awards Committee.
  • We are proud to debut a new column about Neurosurgeons as Innovators. This month’s column was written by John Adler, who dedicated his life and career to perfecting radiosurgery, and in the process, became a successful entrepreneur. I know you’d enjoy reading his essay. By the way, John is not finished innovating.

As always, please e-mail me at mabousamra@aol.com or call me at 805-701-7007 if you have any suggestions or criticism.

I hope you enjoy this issue.