Dr. Saad Saad: Global Life & Career

16
617
Saad Saad performs surgery

Imagine the excitement over this job offer – a rare opportunity to serve as personal pediatric surgeon for the Saudi Royal. In the 1980s, this unique experience was offered to Dr. Saad Saad for two reasons — he was the only board-certified pediatric surgeon in the U.S. who fluently spoke both Arabic and English.

Dr. Saad and his family stayed in the Saudi city of Riyadh the four-and-a-half years, and this time proved to be a very positive adventure.

A Chapter in an Interesting Life

How did a New Jersey surgeon qualify for this prestigious offer? His upbringing and education were the keys. Saad Saad was born in Palestine, raised in Kuwait, and was one of eight children – three Surgeons, two PhDs and two Master Degrees in Engineering, and a Teacher.

Dr. Saad earned his medical degree 47 years ago from Cairo University in Egypt with honors and ranked second in his class. He completed his internship in England, then immigrated to the United States 45 years ago. He did his residency in Surgery and in Pediatric Surgery, and is Board-Certified in Pediatric Surgery.

In the U.S., board certification is difficult. Special training, continuous surgical practice, and passing a rigorous exam every ten years are required.

A Respected Pediatric Surgeon

In Riyadh, Dr. Saad worked at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. The Protocol Office and the chief of the hospital called him into service to perform the simplest to the most complex surgeries.

Dr. Saad performed pediatric surgery on the youngest baby to have ever been admitted with an aneurysm. Not only did he save the baby, he convinced a world-class scientific journal to publish the details of the case in order to educate others.

The Protocol Office and the chief of the hospital highly respected Dr. Saad’s opinion as an experienced surgeon. His suggestions on whether to perform surgery at the hospital – or to fly the patient abroad -were taken very seriously. An assistant chief at the hospital personally trusted Dr. Saad to perform surgery on his son at King Faisal Hospital instead of flying him abroad.

Serving Both the Rich and the Poor

Although the hospital primarily serves the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia, the royals from Bahrain, the UAE, and the Persian Gulf came to be treated at the hospital as well. The Hospital also serves the very poor with the most complex pediatric surgical problems.

Dr. Saad knows poverty very well. “I came from a poor family so I had no choice but to do my very best in med school,” he says. Dr. Saad speaks of his mentor, Dr. H Biemann Othersen in Charleston, SC, who ingrained this principle – that people are equal and deserve equal opportunities.

“The most valuable lesson I learned from him was to be kind, honest, hard-working, and to treat all children the same regardless of their color, religion, mental or physical abilities, or financial status,” says Dr. Saad.

In the U.S., Dr. Saad served his community but also helped children and young adults in the Holy Land. This included four Medical Missions in the U.S. and eight Medical Missions to Jerusalem and the West Bank to perform free complex surgeries on poor children.

This opportunity in Saudi Arabia gave Dr. Saad yet another opportunity to serve the poor by giving their children the very best surgery when they were most desperate.

Challenging the Status Quo

Dr. Saad Saad is an accomplished pediatric surgeon who has performed thousands of pediatric surgical operations during his career. As a physician, Dr. Saad was always seeking to improve traditional methods and procedures. He was constantly challenging the status quo to reduce pain and the risk his patients faced.

As a result, he developed many new pediatric surgical procedures and has patented two inventions.

Dr. Saad created a device that helps locate a catheter inside the body without any type of scanning machine. He went on to create another device –  an endoscope with a self-contained suction that clears fluid to provide the surgeon with a clear view. Dr. Saad’s inventions allow doctors to prevent needless complications and perform their tasks in a faster, safer manner.

Creating a Surgical Residency Program for Saudi Students

On an everyday basis, Dr. Saad did much more than perform his duties as a surgeon.

He also helped create and develop a Surgical Residency Program there. He established a working connection and approval of the Royal College of Surgeons in England for students to receive their UK certification at home in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Saad is proud of this achievement as he called it a remarkable accomplishment. Because of him, many students now have the opportunity to stay at home in Saudi Arabia for surgical training instead of having to train abroad.

Dr. Saad’s Family Time in Saudi Arabia

Saad has been married for 42 years and has four children – two Surgeons, one Lawyer, and an ICU Nurse. The children were all very young during their time in Saudi Arabia. He knew very clearly that the move would have a significant impact on his family and took that into account when accepting the job.

Originally, Dr. Saad was only supposed to stay in Saudi Arabia for a year. But he and his wife did not want to move the kids around too much as they were growing up and receiving their early years of education. So, as a family, they extended their stay. They would have stayed longer too, except that meant the kids would have to be sent to boarding school abroad to continue their education.

Enjoying the Global Experience

For Dr. Saad, there were several advantages living in Riyadh. He was happy to use his surgery skills to help prestigious patients and to earn the trust of the Royal Family. He also enjoyed giving lectures to the surgical club and spreading his knowledge to others.

 

Dr. Saad also enjoyed meeting people from all over the world in Saudi Arabia. With his family in tow, he used his free time to visit friends in Denmark, Sweden, Ghana, Egypt, England, Canada, Hawaii and many other exciting places. Now he has life-long connections with people from all over the world, all because of his position as the pediatric surgeon for the Royal Family. He is also happy his kids have made international friends and have received a first-rate education.

Life After Saudi Arabia

Dr. Saad’s time at King Faisal Hospital eventually had to end so he could return back to life in the U.S. to be closer to his family and have his children attend local schools. He was a high-demand surgeon, not an easy profession.

Dr. Saad is now retired and living in Red Bank, NJ. Prior to retirement, he was the Surgeon-in-Chief and the Co-Medical Director of K Hovnanian Children Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Care System.

He says, “If a poor Palestinian refugee can make it and be successful in America, you can too. Work hard and persevere!”

He recommends reading any book about President Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves and reiterated that all people are equal. “We are all equal in the eyes of God. Through the eyes of a pediatric surgeon, I know that all people were created with the same heart, lungs, liver, intestines, and other organs, no matter that person’s race, color, or religion,” Dr. Saad says.

Dr. Saad’s Rules of Surgery

He shares the details of his surgical protocols to help young surgeons in training. These habits were most helpful in preparing for surgery:

  1. Review the patient Medical Record and confirm what type of surgical procedure I am planning to do.
  2. Review the steps of the surgical procedure I’m planning to do. Especially, complex pediatric surgical procedures from the most recent operative pediatric surgical textbook.

When performing a complicated task like surgery, these rules helped him focus:

  1. No personal talking in my operating room
  2. No loud music
  3. A good night sleep and a good breakfast prior to surgery

The one habit that has made him more productive? “Organization. When I’m organized, I’m more efficient and won’t procrastinate the assignments that I’m expected to accomplish today.”

What advice would you give your younger self? “Reaching your goals is not impossible if you insist on it.”

 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing the article about Dr. Saad Saad: Global Life & Career.Dr. Saad worked at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. The Protocol Office and the chief of the hospital called him into service to perform the simplest to the most complex surgeries.

  2. Dr.Saad is a great man. He serve the rich people like Royal Family of Saudi Arabia also he serve the poor people in a same way. That’t why I like him very much. he always seeking to improve traditional methods and procedure.

  3. very inspiring article and informative too.I am preparing for an entrance exam for mch in pediatric Surgery. I was so sure about it until tonight so here I am in YouTube searching for inspiration that as a female I would be able to handle it and so I came across this video. Thanks for bringing me back to rooting for my desire to be a pediatric surgeon.

  4. Mr. Dr. Saad is great at what he does, and is a great role model for anyone who has interest in this field of medical work, and provides great services to the people who need his medical skills.

  5. There are only few people in this world that see a problem and make a change to fix it. Dr Saad appears to be one of those people. Children are the world’s most precious resource, and it pains me to think that children are injured or die in war torn areas. I just can’t stand it. I love that Dr Saad is finally doing something to address the horror in this life. Thank you for your work, and keep it up.

  6. This is great work that he is doing. I love to see these types of updates because it is a wonderfully great change to all the dismal news that we see on a daily basis. Bravo and keep up the great work, it is making a huge difference.

  7. Dr Saad is doing a wonderful service for these children. Not many doctors are so giving if themselves. These children in the midst of these war torn countries suffer because of politics. I’m just glad Dr Saad is here to help them

  8. Awww, saved a baby with an aneurysm! So sweet and wonderful. Dr Saad is an amazing surgeon and a giving one as well. Preach on, brother, we ARE all equal. Amazing that students can now stay at home in Saudi instead of having to travel abroad to become doctors. He’s done so much for the world.

    • We agree. The intricacies behind performing surgery on an infant must be grueling. We were happy he shared the story with us. Thanks for your comment!

  9. The most striking part about this article is his rues of surgery. In any profession you must be organized and able to articulate what you expect from the people around you. Not only that but hold yourself accountable to the rules you set forth for others. With your accomplishments and outstanding attitude you are truly a model of success for people to follow

  10. Wow. Just wow. Dr. Saad seems like just an amazing, hardworking man who does his absolute best for people, as shown through his actions described in the article. He is generous, as he shares his rules of surgery to the people reading this article, and also, this article was extremely well written as well. Hope to see more of Dr. Saad!!

  11. Indeed Dr.Saad is a great doctor and a person as well. As a doctor his activities are a paradigm for all doctors. His surgical procedures and rules are very effective both patient and the surgical team. Now a days, unlike other doctor he also a philanthropist. I wish him every success in life.

  12. Dr. Saad has probably seen a lot since he has been in a lot of places. He saved the youngest baby to have ever been admitted with an aneurysm which proves he cares about what he does. He made the right choice. By him coming from a poor family himself he knows what poor people are going through. He is a good hard-working doctor who treats everyone the same.

  13. DR saad is Gold man of our world.he is doing a wonderful service for these children.I’m just glad Dr Saad is here to help them. Not many doctors are so giving if themselves.you are best.. Thank you for your work,

  14. This is very informative and well described. It’s easy to understand all the points being made about Dr. Saad. He has had a wonderful career so far and I’m sure he will continue to do great things! I enjoyed it a lot and will share what I learned with all my friends.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here