A Day in the Life Of a Baghdad ER

Scores of Iraqi civilians are killed or wounded every day. TIME's Aparisim Ghosh visits an emergency room in Baghdad to chronicle the human cost of war—and ends up in a struggle to save his friends' lives

It is morning rush hour in Baghdad, and the emergency-room staff at Yarmouk Hospital is bracing itself for another grim load. Insurgent groups routinely mount their biggest attacks during the commuter crush: the heavy traffic guarantees them a high death toll, and the ensuing snarl-ups prevent police and military units from giving chase. For medical workers like Dr. Jalal Taha Emad, an emergency-room surgeon, each day begins with a foreboding of the mayhem to come. "When I am on my way to work, I sometimes look at people in the cars around me and wonder how many of them will end...

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