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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan medical professional at the the Afghan National Army-run Paktya Regional Medical Hospital at Forward Operating Base Thunder, dress a foot laceration on an Afghan child Aug. 30. The child, who suffered a severe laceration of the foot, was the hospital’s first pediatric patient in months and a special challenge for the Afghan medical professionals who were inexperienced in pediatric care. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Spencer Case, 304th Public Affairs Detachment)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army hospitals do not normally do pediatric work, but when civilians have nowhere else to go, ANA doctors often find ways to accommodate them.

Such a scenario occurred Aug. 30, when the Afghan National Army-run Paktya Regional Medical Hospital at Forward Operating Base Thunder received an Afghan child with a severe laceration to the foot.

The drama began when the 2-and-a-half-year-old child wandered outside while his father was breaking stone. No one at the hospital was exactly sure what caused the laceration, but U.S. Air Force physician Maj. Robert Sarlay Jr., an advisor to the hospital with the Medical Embedded Training Team at nearby FOB Lightning, speculated that a sharp fragment of rock might have been the culprit.



Within hours of the child received the injury, the father took him to the closest coalition forces base, Combat Outpost Tillman, to receive treatment. Before long, it was determined the child would need to seek a higher level care. The two were then transported by priority medical evacuation on a Black Hawk helicopter to Paktya Regional Medical Hospital at FOB Thunder and arrived at about 10 p.m.

X-rays taken after his arrival to the Paktya Regional Medical Hospital showed the laceration to be a flesh wound only - a “partial de-gloving of the foot” in medical parlance - and not a compound fracture as some had feared. The child was then taken to the emergency room and put under anesthesia so that Afghan medical professionals could clean, irrigate and close the wound.

“They [the Afghans] did a very good job, especially with the closure,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. James G. Olanda, a certified registered nurse and anesthetist with the FOB Lightning METT, who was present in the emergency room when the child was being treated.

Many civilians do not go to these hospitals, however – and those that do prefer to keep their anonymity – because they fear reprisals from the Taliban, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David V. Gill, the commander of the METT at FOB Lightning, and a Fairhope, Ala. resident.

The Afghan professionals, who hadn’t seen a pediatric case in months, also had reason to be nervous.

“They were [initially] very hesitant to take the patient because pediatrics is a whole different field than adult medical care,” said Olanda, who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Nevertheless, all signs show that the procedure was successful.

“This morning the kid was as happy as can be,” Sarlay said on Aug. 31. “He’s back laughing and playing … kids bounce back like that.”

The procedure may also have an effect on a wider level.

“For them to reach out to help - the family benefits but, indirectly, the government is shown to be helping,” Sarlay said.
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force Maj. James G. Olanda, a certified registered nurse and anesthetist with the Forward Operating Base Lightning Medical Embedded Training Team, administers anesthesia to an Afghan child at the Afghan National Army-run Paktya Regional Medical Hospital at Forward Operating Base Thunder Aug. 30. The child, who suffered a severe laceration of the foot, was the hospital’s first pediatric patient in months and a special challenge for the Afghan medical professionals who were inexperienced in pediatric care. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Spencer Case, 304th Public Affairs Detachment)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan child at the Afghan National Army-run Paktya Regional Medical Hospital at Forward Operating Base Thunder sits on his bed the morning after surgery Aug. 31. The child, who suffered a severe laceration of the foot, was the hospital’s first pediatric patient in months and a special challenge for the Afghan medical professionals who were inexperienced in pediatric care. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Spencer Case, 304th Public Affairs Detachment)
 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 00:23
 

    

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