After his graduation from Christ Church, Mahmood returned to his home country of Iraq. He settled in Ramadi, homeplace to one of the most important teaching hospitals in Iraq, where he established a new Laparoscopic surgery theatre and began to pioneer new operating techniques.
Mahmood’s return co-incided with the growth of Daesh (ISIS) who were establishing power across Syria and Iraq. “The building was ruined during fighting with Daesh”, says Mahmood, “but we came together to reconstruct the hospital and recommence health services from the ruins. Thousands of patients have been operated on in this theatre. Not only this, but what I learned at Christ Church has also enabled me to lecture medical students, as well as academic supervisors, in a regular program at the hospital.” Mahmood participates in internationally leading surgical conferences and his papers have been published on high profile websites.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 Mahmood was appointed by his hospital to join the emergency team combating the illness. He says: “I was aware that, as the outbreak of Covid-19 started to spread around the world, misinformation began to affect people in a negative way. As a result, I started searching for reliable sources of information about this disease.”
Mahmood pooled the existing evidence from trusted sources into a structured article which answered many questions about the virus and the pathological process of the disease. At that early stage in the pandemic, the article explained the genetic code of coronavirus and summarised guidelines for the treatments that were available, given that the vaccine had not then been developed.
Mahmood brought his own work experience to bear in the article, reflecting that the vast majority of infected patients were experiencing mild symptoms of disease. However, for those with low immunity the illness was more severe, as Mahmood was himself to discover when he caught Covid-19 himself. He admits that having the illness was “the darkest hour” for him, but, after an extended period off work, he is now recovering.