The Hero Project: Taiseer Masri, Ministry of Health

A doctor known for his warm manner and dedication

The Hero Project: Taiseer Masri, Ministry of Health

In April 2020, Time Out and Arabian Business launched The Hero Project, in a bid to raise the profiles of the thousands of individuals and companies in the UAE making huge efforts to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

The project allows members of the public to nominate any person, company or organisation in the UAE who they believe deserves recognition during the current pandemic.

Taiseer Masri is one of those nominees.

“I've heard the line ‘not all heroes wear capes’ used quite a lot recently, which I can personally relate to,” says Masri’s daughter Lara.

“One hero wears his white coat, his stethoscope placed around his neck, the hippocratic oath sown into the fabric of his professionalism and the love for his family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and patients running deep in his heart. He's my dad.”

Being a doctor Taiseer Masri, who is a Head of Medical Department and Consultant Physician, stands alongside his medical colleagues in treating patients.

“Being seventy three years old, I keep tempting dad with the prospect of retirement. But no, this hero is not ready to hang up his stethoscope just yet,” she adds. “In fact, now more than ever, he feels the need to work even harder in this fight to beat the virus. Despite his age, and falling into the high risk category, he finds the strength to put on that white coat and go to hospital every single day knowing he's coming face to face with the enemy. No time for heroes to be afraid.

“Despite just losing his mum and not being able to say goodbye in person or attend her funeral (due to flight restrictions), he continues to put on a brave face and soldier on. No time for heroes to grieve. I ask myself where does dad get his strength from? Knowing what I know of my dad, I'm sure he would answer "faith and love". I am ever so proud of this hero, in a white coat, my hero, my dad.”

Dr Masri qualified from medical school in Alexandria, Egypt before working for the UK’s NHS, specialising in respiratory medicine. He moved to the UAE’s Ministry of Health a decade later, in 1981, and has worked here ever since.

Being a Head of Medical Department and Consultant Physician Masri’s role is exceedingly busy on even the best of days. From patient care in outpatient clinics and hospital wards, the management of the medical team, the organisation of continuing professional education for his medical staff, training junior doctors and budding medical students, he is also on the ministry of health's examination board.

“Over the past couple of months his role has changed significantly as he was placed in charge of overseeing the treatment of all corona virus cases in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain,” adds Lara.

“Now he's focused on keep the population of Umm Al Quwain, and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, safe from the Corona virus. This has involved management of individual Covid-19 positive patients, overseeing the set-up of a Covid-19 field hospital in the emirate and safe guarding both public health and the health of the hospital's own staff members including fellow doctors, nurses, administrators cleaners and porters. They really are all working day and night as one cohesive unit.”

Known for his warm and caring manner and good rapport with colleagues and patients, Masri has a unique ability to make “everything, even the worst situation, seem like it’s going to be okay”, says Lara.

“He makes time for everyone and treats everyone with the same respect and dignity. Despite being scared of this potentially fatal infection (and being in the high risk category given his age), that has since claimed the life of his dear friend and colleague, has remained calm, brave and collected.

“He collaborates with partners in the ministry of health daily to ensure that everyone involved in tackling the virus are doing their job to the best of their ability and adhering to the ministry's protocols. He is also keeping them safe by ensuring they wear personal protective equipment, practice good hygiene measures and keep social distancing where possible. He is also constantly studying this novel virus by reading up on new international developments and drug trials. When he talks about his patients, you can tell he really cares and takes genuine joy from helping each and every single one of them.”

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