News: ‘The doctor is in’ at FOB Todd
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kevin Wallace
BALA MURGHAB, Afghanistan - A small team of Army and Air Force doctors, nurses and techs have been hard at work for nearly five months, sustaining life, limb, and sight for many people in Bala Murghab. The clinic is based at FOB Todd in the Bala Murghab valley, western Badghis province.
Soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo., and Italian alpine troops from TF-North have protected the river valley, and afforded the Pashtun, Tajik and Kuchi tribes living in the area a peaceful life, when compared to other regions of Afghanistan.
Despite relative tranquility, combat ops continue in the area as the coalition expands the security bubble, to open essential roads and enhance security in far-reaching parts of the valley.
When soldiers are wounded in battle, they rely on their medical staff for care, said 1st Lt. Mark Metzler, an Intensive Care Unit nurse, deployed from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. When a local national is sick and cannot receive needed treatment in their community, the same medical staff has often opened their doors to assist.
“Since Aug. 14, 2010, the clinic has seen three Italian army, nine U.S. military, 28 ANA or ANP service members, and 70 local nationals, who suffered from a wide array of medical problems,” said Metzler. Insurgents wounded in battle are afforded the same degree of medical care. Four such insurgents have received the clinic’s care in the past 4 months.
“Admittedly, for some the task of patching up wounded enemy may be difficult,” but Metzler said “military medics are very professional.” Still, he relishes the rarity of needing to do so. “Fortunately we haven’t seen many enemy forces in this clinic,” said Metzler. “But when we have, we treated them like any other patient.”
The U.S. clinic at FOB Todd is the major medical facility, but is also supported by a small Italian clinic, and a small Afghan one. The U.S. clinic is the only one supporting major injuries.