Special Forces physicians save Afghan girl

Ravage

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http://sinepari.soc.mil/News/2008/July/SP-080715-01.html

FARAH, Afghanistan (Sine Pari, July 15, 2008) – On a warm morning in early June, a worried Abdullah Haqim walked with his daughter into the weekly Coalition medical clinic in Farah, Afghanistan. Six-year-old Gulzana was sick and local Afghan doctors could not diagnose or treat the painful swelling that had engulfed her left eye.

The loving father watched with a worried expression as a U.S. Army Special Forces doctor examined the tumor that covered her eye. He was worried because insurgents in the area had warned him that Coalition doctors would not help his daughter, and may even hurt her.

“This wasn’t the type of thing we could treat at the weekly clinic,” the Special Forces doctor said. “Most of our patients here require more basic assistance. Her case required advanced medical care as quickly as we could provide it, so we had to start making plans right away if we were to have a chance of saving her.”

Gulzana had an orbital tumor growing from her eye which was expanding to her cheek and eyebrow. In a developing country such as Afghanistan, a child with such an affliction has an extremely low chance of survival. Soon after the American doctor looked at her, he began coordinating a plan to save her.

“We saw this as a case where we could make a difference in a child’s life, so we had to act,” said the Special Forces doctor. “It took some effort, but we arranged for Gulzana and her father to arrive here around the same time as Col. David Holck, one of the Air Force’s best optical surgeons.”

On the morning of July 7, Holck began his trek from Baghdad to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan via military resupply flights. Holck is the chairman of ophthalmology at Wilford Hall, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Throughout the same day, Gulzana and her father travelled 14 hours on a bus to Bagram to meet with the doctor. Haqim, carrying a makeshift travel bag made from a bed sheet, finally met the doctor that would save his daughters life. Medics changed Gulzana’s bandages and she received a teddy bear from adoring U.S. troops but she shied away from the attention.

The next day, Holck and other coalition doctors performed a computerized axial tomography, or CAT, scan of Gulzana’s head to gauge the size and location of the tumor. Like most children, she didn’t seem to like being in the hospital, but she was patient and allowed the medical staff at Bagram’s hospital to examine her and plan the required surgery. The tumor had spread from her retina to other parts of her eye, but had not yet affected her skull or brain.

“Based on her scan, we could see that the situation was a little better than we had hoped for,” Holck said. “You can’t beat the positive outcome of something like this. All we have to do is our job, but we also get the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life.”

The following day, Gulzana was on an operating table, surrounded by Air Force and Army doctors. The operation lasted two hours, but when it was finished, she looked like a new kid. The tumor that had spread from her eye was gone, and her eyelid could close. She woke up with bandages on her face and with her happy father holding her hand.

Gulzana and her father will temporarily live at Bagram Air Field as she recovers. Her smile warms the hearts of the Special Forces Soldiers who monitor her recovery, and the worried look on her father’s face is gone.

“Her mother is gone and she has had enough pain in her life,” said Haqim. “I’m happy that the Americans showed so much care for her and that she is getting better. Before, we were so worried, but now everything has changed and she will have a chance to grow up and be happy.

surgery001tnfr1.jpg

Gulzana and her father pose for a photo during her recovery period at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, July 11.
surgery003fz9.jpg

Gulzana waits in the Special Forces medical building before going to the Bagram Air Field Hospital for examination June 9.
(Photo by Sgt. Daniel Love, CJSOTF-A PAO)
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Gulzana's father smiles as he talks of her condition to a Special Forces doctor at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan July 10.
(Photo by Sgt. Daniel Love, CJSOTF-A PAO)
 

BS502

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Outstanding! Shame the MSM can't (read, won't) put stories like this on the front page.
 

BS502

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Because unfortunately, they tend to put a liberal slant on their "unbiased" reporting.
 

Ex3

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I'm so glad they were able to save the little girl. But the sadness you can still see in her face is heartbreaking.
 

Balls

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One good deed receives another. Maybe sombody in the village will turn over a weapons cache or Taliban hideout. This is why hearts and minds is worth it two-fold.
 

car

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This is why hearts and minds is worth it two-fold.

Absoultely!

"We're here to help in any way we can, and learn about your culture," not, "Hi. I'm from the US government and I'm here fix your problems/fucked up situation."
 

Chopstick

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“Her mother is gone and she has had enough pain in her life,” said Haqim. “I’m happy that the Americans showed so much care for her and that she is getting better. Before, we were so worried, but now everything has changed and she will have a chance to grow up and be happy."

Of course Ive not seen this reported anywhere till now. Thanks for posting Rav..but..something blew in my eye when I was reading this part..dammit(sniffle).
 
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