Sunday, May 07, 2006

Navy doctor comes to Afghan boy’s rescue

Photo courtesy of Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Dave Holder, 3-141 Battalion Aid Station
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Dave Holder, visits with Abdul, an Afghan boy who received treatment from U.S. medical teams, and Abdul’s father in the Bagram hospital. Abdul went for nearly two months without treatment for a severe leg injury before Holder discovered him and delivered him to Bagram for treatment.

By Army Sgt. Nina J. Ramon
345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — After treating hundreds of casualties during a tour with the Marines in Iraq , and then treating hundreds more during his nine months in Afghanistan, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Dave Holder thought he had seen it all. An 8-year-old Afghan boy with a medical condition virtually unheard of in the States quickly changed his mind. <...>

This physician assistant [Holder] permanently assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego also participates in weekly civilian outreach missions with ANA medics. <...>

During a weekly mission with an ANA medical battalion, Holder was asked by an Afghan doctor to assist with an Afghan boy named Abdul. “(Abdul) had what appeared to be a piece of wood sticking out of his leg,” said Holder. He soon realized it was Abdul’s shinbone.

Abdul’s story began four months earlier when he first injured his leg. Two months later, he re-injured the leg, causing the shin bone to protrude out of the skin. “He had a series of injuries to his leg and was hobbling around trying to bear the weight,” said Holder. “It was grossly infected -- bone and skin. I decided I would get him taken care of,” he added.

Special cases such as Abdul’s are normally referred to the provincial reconstruction team medical clinic, according to Holder. In many circumstances, patients are then referred to the Egyptian Field Hospital at Bagram. <...>

It took more than two weeks to get Abdul a flight to Bagram because of bad weather and mission-essential flight requirements. While waiting, Holder paid the cab fare so Abdul and his father could visit the clinic each day to have the wound cleaned and dressed.

When the weather cleared, Abdul and his father traveled to the U.S. hospital in Bagram where they met Hermenau and the rest of the team that would help save his leg.

“When you see a kid that breaks his leg and you get the chance to help him be able to go out and do kid stuff again,” Holder said smiling, “it gives you a ray of hope.” Holder believes helping Afghans such as Abdul reinforces the positive relationship between Coalition forces and the local population.

“Abdul is from a known trouble spot in the area of operation, so hopefully this will be a good-news story for them that the Americans treated him well,” said Holder. Because of his belief in the Coalition mission in Afghanistan and the fulfillment he gets from helping others, Holder says he lives for the satisfaction he receives from each deployment.

“I came to Afghanistan to take care of Soldiers and the people here, and I think I did that,” he said. “I’ll come back a third time.”

Category: News.
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