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Brooklyn Patients Left In Limbo As Trump Order Strands Doctor In Sudan

Donald Trump’s travel ban is wrecking havoc with far-reaching Effects. A doctor at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn was blocked when he tried to board a flight back from Sudan. Now, he worries what will happen to his patients.

According to ProPublica, Dr. Kamal Fadlalla traveled more than two hours from his family’s home in Wad Madani, Sudan, to the country’s capital of Khartoum to board a flight back to the United States on Saturday. But he never made it to the plane.

Initially, according to the report, everything went fine at the airport. He received his boarding pass. He went through an immigration checkpoint and walked to his gate. But as he was about to board his Emirates airline flight, he heard his name called from the loudspeaker, instructing him to return to the counter. An officer told him the airline’s headquarters had ordered that he not board the plane due to Trump’s executive order.

“They took our boarding pass. They canceled our flight,” Fadlalla told ProPublica from Sudan in a phone interview. “It was really shocking for me.”

After waiting four hours at the airport, he returned to his family’s home.


Dr. Kamal Fadlalla | Facebook

Though he had a newly issued H-1B visa for foreign workers in specialty occupations, he is a citizen of Sudan, one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries from which President Donald Trump banned visitors to the U.S.

Fadlalla was turned back the same day as a first-year resident at the Cleveland Clinic was forced to leave the U.S., hours after landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Suha Abushamma, who is also a Sudanese citizen, was given the choice of withdrawing her visa application “voluntarily” or being forcibly deported and not allowed back to the U.S. for at least five years.

Her flight back to Saudi Arabia, where her family lives, took off just minutes before a federal district judge in Brooklyn issued a stay temporarily preventing the government from deporting people like her. Ohio’s two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, have denounced her treatment.

As ProPublica highlights, Thousands of American patients rely on doctors trained at foreign medical schools. Each year, around a quarter of the residents and fellows in advanced training programs around the U.S. attended medical school outside the country. While some of those are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, about 15 to 20 percent of the total are not.


Dr. Kamal Fadlalla’s colleagues are trying to bring him back. Photo: Facebook

It is not clear how many doctors are now affected by the travel ban but the order could have devastating consequences for physicians from the seven listed countries in the weeks ahead as hospitals decide which aspiring physicians to admit to their training programs for next year. In addition to Sudan, the countries are Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Somalia.

When Fadlalla realized he was locked out of the U.S., he called his union and his residency program to advise them of his plight. “They’re trying to help me. They’re trying to figure out what they can do.

Fadlalla said he feels at a loss since he is now deeply rooted in the United States. “I’m sad. I’m worried. I don’t know how to plan for my life,” he said. “Everything’s there. My bank accounts are there. My house is there. My friends. I have research there. I have my patients. I have my whole life there.”

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