News: TF Spartan paratroopers rescue Afghan child
Story by Spc. Eric-James Estrada
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan- Paratroopers from the 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Gold Geronimo, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, assisted in the rescue of an Afghan child Jan. 8.
Early Sunday morning, a combat arms unit from Task Force Gold Geronimo was approached by the father of three-year-old Farook while on patrol in Paktya province of Afghanistan.
Farook was suffering from an asthma attack and was taken to the Forward Operating Base Gardez medical facility. There, the medics determined that Farook would need to be evacuated by helicopter to Forward Operating Base Salerno.
“Our physicians took over care and we were able to treat him appropriately with steroids and airway treatments,” said U.S. Army Col. Peter Gould, 352nd Combat Support Hospital commander at FOB Salerno. “Now he’s calm and able to breath on his own and with that care he’s ready to go home.”
Childcare constitutes about 10 percent of patient care at the Salerno hospital. That 10 percent has to meet a certain criteria in order for the doctors here to help them.
“Unless kids are injured by us, they are not what is called [Medical Rule of Eligibility] positive,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dupree, 352nd CSH officer in charge of emergency medical treatment, “Most of the time when we admit children it’s a life, limb, or eyesight issue. This was obviously a life issue.”
The doctors at Salerno do their best to service all of those who come seeking medical attention, according to Dupree.
“A lot of times the parents just want to bring their kids here because they want them to get better care. We can’t take all of them, but we certainly take the ones who fall into the three categories,” said Dupree.
Another challenge the Salerno hospital faces is that it is one of very few hospitals in Afghanistan with a pediatrics facility.
“… there’s not very many places in the area that can take care of sick kids,” said Dupree. “So a lot of times we have to take them and then treat them until they are stable for discharge.”
Although the Salerno hospital is capable of taking care of children, the facilities are equipped more toward adult patient care, Dupree said. “We have to make due and get a little creative using what we have to work with kids.”
Farook’s uncle, Shah Saied, from Paktya province, Afghanistan, who accompanied his nephew to the Salerno hospital, expressed is gratitude for the care the hospital was able to provide for his nephew.
“Absolutely this is a good hospital, when I took my nephew to a local clinic in our district they were unable to care for him,” Saied said. “Then I brought him to the base here in Jaji [and] they called an ambulance and were very helpful. If I did not bring him here, he would have died.”