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What it is like being the only doctor in war-torn Sudan’s Nuba Mountains

For residents living in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan running for their lives as planes dropped bombs on them was part of daily life.

Ravaged by civil war for decades, this is one of the world’s most isolated and dangerous countries. Its president continues to be wanted for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

And, as the death toll mounted, the injured and sick had only one place to go: Mother of Mercy Hospital. It’s the only hospital in the entire region and it has only one doctor: Tom Catena.

Ten years ago, Catena, who is from upstate New York, left his friends and family and moved to Africa. He first trained in Kenya, before landing in the Nuba Mountains, where he remains the only doctor.

For three weeks in 2014 and again in 2015, filmmaker Kenneth Carlson documented Catena’s daily heroics for his newly released documentary, “The Heart of Nuba.”

ABC News’ “Nightline” spoke to Catena and Carlson about the reign of terror in the region, what drives the doctor and how he and the people of Nuba turned the hospital into a symbol of their survival.

‘As close to a saint’

“I think I take my, my role model as Jesus Christ. I think Christ is really calling us to give up our baggage — whatever it is,” Catena told “Nightline.”

Catena is always on call. Even when he has worked all night, he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. without an alarm clock.

“Dr. Tom is as close to a saint that I’ve met on the face of this Earth,” Carlson told “Nightline.”

Read more at ABC News. 

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