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09 April NB no ads:Layout 1 3/26/09 9:42 AM Page 15 INSIDE THE ASSOCIATION NewsMakers Foward Surgical Team Gives Gift of Hope The following story, dated Jan. 6, 2009, was submitted by CPT John Gasko, CRNA, AN, USA, It appears on the Bagram Air Force Base (Afghanistan) website at http://www.bagram.afcent.af.mil/news/ story.asp?storyID=123130174, and was written by 1st Lt Amber Balken, Zabul PRT public affairs. It has been said, it is better to give than to receive. Nothing could be more true this holiday season as the 2nd Forward Surgical Team gave two Afghan girls a second chance at life. The girls were burned in a cooking fire in their home in late December. Desperate for help and unable to get the care they needed in a remote area of Zabul Province, the family traveled for Army CPT John Gasko, CRNA, AN, USA, administers anesthetics to five days into the City of Qalat. a local girl during a Christmas Day surgery. The Field Surgical Team Initially not offered care at the provincial hospital, the last performed skin grafts on two small Afghan girls who were burned in a resort was for the family to come to the gates of the Provincial local village. Reconstruction Team compound in Qalat. Dr. (Capt.) Brent Barnstuble, knowing that there was nothing that could be done at that location contacted the FST located at Forward Operating When the team took on the two girls as patients, they did it Base Lagman. knowing that if there was a coalition emergency, the team would “These patients did not meet the medical rules of engage- need to switch gears and treat those casualties. There was a risk ment,” said Army CPT John Gasko, a certified registered nurse when they accepted the girls, but the historically lower opera- anesthetist. “After learning the extent of the burns, we made the tions tempo in winter made it an acceptable risk. decision to help.” The FST also understood that they would have to take care of In usual circumstances if coalition forces did not cause an the girls until they were stable and able to tolerate transfer to a injury, they are not obligated to treat host nation civilians, but local national hospital. Both procedures went smoothly and both this was a special case and the girls were transported to FOB girls were transferred to the local hospital in Qalat just hours after Lagman. their surgeries. The Jordanian medical team will oversee further The FST quickly began an extensive surgery on the first girl treatment of the girls. who had 32 percent of her body covered in third degree burns. This was a total force effort commented Major Bozzo. “With They removed most of the damaged skin and stabilized the girl. the cooperation of all
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