Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forward Operating Base Lagman treats soldiers and Afghans

Hospital in Afghanistan key to trauma victims’ survival
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 16, 2012

ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The noise of a helicopter landing in the darkness Sept. 7 signaled the arrival of three small, bloody and bandaged patients at Forward Operating Base Lagman.

The young Afghans, who looked about 8 years old, were rushed to a dusty, white plywood building that serves as the hospital at a base shared mostly by U.S. and Romanian forces.

They had been near Afghan security forces when the Taliban attacked, using a crude, handmade bomb. Now they were collateral damage in fighting that’s raged here all their young lives.

They were swarmed by medical staff giving them the same quality of care they’ve provided to some 250 patients, about half of whom were Afghan soldiers or other security personnel targeted by the Taliban since March.

One of the surgeons at the hospital is Navy Reserve Cmdr. Timothy Weiner, a professor of pediatric surgery at the University of North Carolina. He has taken care of two dozen children in the past seven months, mostly victims of the Taliban’s bombs.

The boys were strangely silent as they lay on stretchers, waiting for surgery.

“The kids here are unbelievable stoic,” Weiner said later. “[They] hardly ever cry, which … can be confusing since this can mask how significant their injuries are.”

One of the boys had damage to the main artery in his right arm, while another showed no distress despite penetrating shrapnel injuries. During surgery, holes were found in his liver and stomach.
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