Friday, August 31, 2007

Aid station’s doors open to Iraqi children

2nd Lt. Liz Lopez
210th BSB, 2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI)
Multi-National Division – Center

PATROL BASE DRAGON, Iraq — Children play. They get dirty, swim in canals and climb up trees; risk is part of the game.
When accidents happen, it is nice to have a place to go for cuts, scrapes and serious injuries.
For the Iraqi children who live in the countryside just yards from Patrol Base Dragon, near the Euphrates River, that place is the battalion aid station run by Capt. Christopher “Kit” Dominguez, a native of Grand Junction, Colo., and physician’s assistant for Company C, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), out of Fort Drum, N.Y.
“I’ll always treat the kids,” Dominguez said, “I see them almost every day.”
Recently, Dominguez saved a young Iraqi boy’s arms.
It was late in the evening when the patrol base received a message alerting them that some Iraqi army soldiers were bringing in a little boy who had fallen out of a tree and broken his arm. Unsure of the seriousness of the situation, Dominguez stood by to receive his patient.
Minutes after the notification, Iraqi troops arrived at the aid station. Between them was a small boy with bandages wrapped around both forearms, one secured by a blood-soaked sling. Without hesitation, Dominguez set to work assessing the child’s injuries.
As he removed the bandage, Dominguez saw that the child had broken both of the bones in both of his forearms when he tried to catch himself as he fell from a tree. The right arm had a compound fracture – the bones had penetrated the skin.
Although the injuries were not life-threatening, the necessary treatment was beyond the capabilities of the little aid station. Realizing his limitations, Dominguez requested that the boy be air-evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad’s International Zone.
Ten minutes later, Dominguez was finishing re-bandaging the child’s arms and a helicopter was lifting off to come and retrieve the boy. Dominguez gently lifted the child and carried him outside to say goodbye and meet the helicopter as it landed at the patrol base.
“It’s good that we can take the children in and give them care that they might not otherwise receive,” Dominguez said.
With a compound fracture in his right arm, the young boy was at serious risk of infection, and without proper treatment, his bones would not set correctly, impairing future use of his hands. Coming to the aid station probably saved his arms, Dominguez said.
“Simple accidents, if they were to happen in the United States, would not be as traumatic or life-endangering as they are here,” Dominguez said.
Because of the lack of accessible medical care in Iraq, Dominguez has opened his aid station doors to the Iraqi children. It is not much to him, but for one Iraqi boy, it means the difference between climbing another tree or not.

No comments: