Surgeon Commander Adham Khalek joined the Navy as a reserve medical officer in 2001. In civilian life, he’s a Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Oxfordshire.
As a Maritime Reservist, Adham was mobilised to serve in Afghanistan in 2013 and has taken part in multiple maritime medical exercises. He also instructs on several military clinical courses.
As a Consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, he oversees the admission and discharge of all Emergency patients.
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"When on duty I am responsible for overseeing the initial assessment, emergency treatment, resuscitation (if necessary) and admission/discharge of all Emergency patients alongside a team of doctors, nurses, porters and other allied health professionals," says Adham.
"This is no different from my job description normally but now entails working in various levels of PPE to manage the added risks of coronavirus transmission.
"As I live and work in Oxford I have volunteered for the Covid vaccine trial.
"None of the volunteers know whether we have received the trial vaccine or not but I have my fingers crossed that we will know whether it is effective or not as soon as possible.”
During the pandemic, Adham has worked alongside other military nurses and doctors.
“In Oxford we already had regular military nurses and doctors integrated into our ED staff and so we worked alongside military medical staff throughout the pandemic - the doctors and nurses are integrated into our staffing rotas and part of the team,” he says.
“The use of Armed forces personnel and expertise in multiple roles during the pandemic highlights how versatile and relevant a resource the military is - it exists for the benefit of the country and not just for armed conflict.”
We owe a lot to the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us and served their country.
Although Covid-19 means the Poppy Appeal will be different this year, Adham thinks it should still be a time to reflect and remember.
“In my experience the Poppy Appeal and national response to remembrance ceremonies show that it is a unifying event that crosses many traditional divides,” he says.
“We owe a lot to the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us and served their country.
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“That we are going through our own tough times now doesn’t make reflecting and remembering this any less relevant or important.
“The poppy for me is a symbol of respect and remembrance and a reminder of how armed conflict should always be a last resort.”