For 18 years, Saudi doctor Khalid Al-Otaibi has been used to travel to his patients inside Saudi Arabia and abroad, refusing to stay at his clinic only, preferring to volunteer to reach out to to them.
Al-Otaibi, an endoscopic surgery consultant, urologist and nephrologist, considers that the doctor who volunteers to reach out to people is more compassionate than others who make them wait for appointments and bare the burden of traveling to their clinics.
Al-Otaibi, who is considered the first surgeon to perform renal nephropathy in the Middle East in 1996, tells Al Arabiya English how he would dedicate days from his annual leave to visit patients on his own time.
“Upon returning from Canada in 1996, I started traveling locally to hospitals and patients, visiting Assir, Hail and Riyadh.”
“During those periods, I would take leaves to travel outside the Kingdom to conduct operations and visited Sudan, Sierra Leone and the Comoros. We were a group of doctors. We set up a surgical camp that includes a number of specializations in coordination with the host country and we worked 12 hours a day despite the difficulty of the place and the underdeveloped equipment.”
“It is true that the doctor would still benefit his patients in his place, but reaching out to different segments of people, benefits not only the patient, but even the doctor, who acquires experiences and deals with diseases and situations he may not have dealt with before.”
Al-Otaibi is currently in the city of Bisha, southern Saudi Arabia, as part of a program offers by the Health Ministry that offers a service of visiting doctors to visit cities that are far from major medical centers and lack the presence of specialized surgeons.