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Afghan children in serious condition but alive after attack


This news story was published on January 20, 2014.
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Lt. Lyndon Guo, left, and Lt. j.g. Kathleen Stopyra, both critical care nurses at the Multinational Medical Unit, a hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, conduct a change of shift to take care of an Afghan child who was wounded in a rocket attack on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Maiwand district. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee)

Lt. Lyndon Guo, left, and Lt. j.g. Kathleen Stopyra, both critical care nurses at the Multinational Medical Unit, a hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, conduct a change of shift to take care of an Afghan child who was wounded in a rocket attack on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Maiwand district. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Antony S. Lee)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Four Afghan children wounded from an alleged Taliban rocket attack while playing soccer in Maiwand district on Saturday were transported to the Multinational Medical Unit, a hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, where they received immediate treatment that helped save their lives.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward Walton, a trauma team leader at the hospital, said the four children were examined as soon as they arrived at the hospital and treated according to their injuries.

One child, who had blood in his abdomen, was taken to the operating room within 23 minutes of his arrival – an amount of time Walton considers a success considering the severity of the injury.

“He was within minutes of dying when he arrived here,” Walton said, adding that the child was as sick as anyone he has taken care of so far in Afghanistan. “We’re giving him his best chance for survival.”

The victim has been sedated and connected to a breathing machine since he arrived. He is still in serious condition but is alive because of the treatment provided at the hospital.

Surgeons at the hospital performed open heart surgery on another Afghan victim who had a hole in his heart when he arrived at the hospital. The surgeons sewed up the hole in his heart during the surgery, causing him to live, said Lt. Cmdr. Jimmy Suvatne, an intensivist at the hospital.

“He was near death when he came in,” Suvatne said, adding that the surgeons were very prompt with the surgery. “He was in the operating room within minutes of his arrival.”

Lt. Cmdr. Sara Gonzalez, an anesthesiologist at the hospital who also helped provide care after the incident, said that another one of the victims received 11 units of blood – more than he actually had in his body – after an ultrasound revealed bleeding inside his abdomen, helping him survive his injuries.

All of the treatment the International Security Assistance Force medical professionals provided for the victims proved to be largely successful.

“I don’t think they would have survived if they did not come to this hospital,” she said, adding that she believes the Multinational Medical Unit is the best trauma hospital in the world. “It’s hugely rewarding to be able to take care of anyone who is an innocent victim.”

Walton said that the various medical professionals at the hospital worked together as a team to provide life-saving treatment for the victims.

“People know what needs to be done. Everyone knows their role” he said. “We’ve practiced this so when it happens for real, then we’re ready.”

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4 Responses to Afghan children in serious condition but alive after attack

  1. LYNNE Reply Report comment

    February 4, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Thank the good lord for the nurses, surgeons, and doctors at the NATO MMU. And let me not forget all our troops throughout the world protecting us. Thank you. Keep Safe. I am so very proud of my sister Kim, who was deployed several months ago to serve at the NATO MMU in Afghanistan. Think of her every day and I am so very proud of her. Love you. Stay safe and come home soon.

  2. Pearl Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2014 at 12:07 am

    It is always refreshing to see a examples of superior leadership while deployed. The ability to influence overwhelming success is a characteristic obviously embraced by the NATO MMU Chain of Command. All in which includes HMC Kevin Miller. Continue to make a difference.

  3. Desiree Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Outstanding guys!!! It’s missions like that, that count. Great job!

    • Desiree Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      HMC Miller NATO Role 3 MMU, you are making your entire city and family members proud of everything that your doing!!! Get home safely baby!!