Kandahar Kids Continue Recovery at Combat Support Hospital
By Staff Sgt.
Keith Thompson, USA
Special to AFPS
Jan. 20, 2004 – On Jan. 6, a series of explosions ripped
through the east side of the city of Kandahar, and 11 days later
the effects of those explosions were still evident on the children
in the 452nd Combat Support Hospital here.
As many as
14 people were killed and dozens were wounded in the double bomb
blast in the "spiritual home of the Taliban," just one
day after Afghanistan adopted a new constitution, according to
a statement from the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
were mainly children from the nearby Abdul Ahad Karzai primary
school, named after the president’s father, who was assassinated
by Taliban agents five years ago. Many were transferred to medical
facilities at Kandahar Air Field, while others were evacuated
11 victims total – all of them being children," said
Capt. Mary Jo Literski, a nurse with the 452nd CSH out of Milwaukee,
Wis. "For our facility, that’s a large number of casualties
all at once."
most of the injuries were shrapnel wounds from the explosion,
many of them requiring surgery. "The shrapnel only makes
a small puncture mark when it goes in, but then it does a lot
of damage on the inside. So most of them needed abdominal surgery
to get the shrapnel out and repair the damage to the internal
organs," Literski said.
She said that
without the medical care provided at the U.S. hospital, many of
the children would have died.
Afghanistan) there is a medical system, but it’s very limited,"
Literski said. "Their surgical capabilities are almost not
hospital gets casualties from Kandahar often, the large number
of children has prompted visits from media and service members
concerned with the children’s welfare, Literski said.
She said several
service members have come to the hospital to visit the children
and bring them gifts.
kids in general are very gracious of the care that we give them,"
Literski said. "Initially, they seem frightened because they
don’t understand the language and they don’t understand what we’re
doing. After sometimes hours and sometimes days, you can see the
difference in the children in how they react to you – how
they trust you," she said.
are not the only ones who benefit from the services provided by
coalition forces, since the health care providers get a lot of
satisfaction from helping patch up the victims of a country in
turmoil, Literski said.
the attack as an "act of cruelty and barbarism," and
said it would only strengthen his resolve to fight terrorism in