News: Afghan children in serious condition but alive after attack
Story by Sgt. Antony 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.”