News / Asia

NATO Hospital Offers Top Notch Care in Taliban Heartland

Physicians work at the NATO hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan
Physicians work at the NATO hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Multimedia

Whether a soldier needs a cure for the common cold or brain surgery, the NATO hospital on Kandahar Airfield can handle it.  This is one of Afghanistan's most sophisticated hospitals, and it provides top medical care on the front line. Just minutes by helicopter from most conflict spots in the country's south, the hospital saves the lives of 98 percent of the injured who come here.

Recently this hospital's emergency room was filled with the cries of a three-year-old Afghan boy.

The trauma team rushes to their positions, quickly hooking monitors and other equipment to check the boy's vital signs. He is lucky to be alive after stepping on a land mine outside his village. His 10-year-old brother died.

It is a familiar story for the staff of this military hospital on Kandahar Airfield, in Afghanistan's south.

U.S. Navy Commander Michael Danenberg, a doctor who specializes in emergency medicine, estimates 20 to 30 percent of his patients are under the age of 12, and most have severe injuries.

"This is why I signed up with the Navy," Danenberg said. "I've been doing Navy emergency medicine for 19 years now. To me this has been the most fulfilling aspect of my 19-year career so far, the fact that I know I am doing it as close to the time of injury, in a combat zone, and being able to go from there," he said.

The NATO hospital on Kandahar Airfield is one of the most advanced medical facilities in the country. It serves not only international coalition troops and the Afghan military, it also cares for the citizens of this impoverished, war-torn nation.

Despite the war going on not far away, this looks like a hospital transplanted straight out of the United States. The building has the latest medical equipment. A huge air-conditioning system blocks the summer heat out, and helps keep the hospital quiet and clean. Doctors and nurses monitor patients who lie on comfortable beds with white sheets.

It is just minutes by helicopter from most of the region's conflict spots, which means injured soldiers and civilians can reach help as soon as possible. Having an advanced medical facility so close to the front lines saves lives, said U.S Navy Captain Darin Via, the hospital's commanding officer.

"Military medicine has learned over time the closer we can treat any casualty to [the] combat setting, the potential of returning them to their unit is that much greater," said Via. "Obviously in the extreme trauma casualties, the [medical] capabilities closer to combatants saves their lives."

This hospital can treat everything from colds to depression and can handle complex procedures such as brain surgery. But trauma is the specialty.

Commander Joseph Strauss, chief orthopedic surgeon at the NATO hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan
Commander Joseph Strauss, chief orthopedic surgeon at the NATO hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Doctors see up to 200 severe cases each month, mostly victims of bombs or leftover land mines from earlier conflicts. Chief orthopedic surgeon U.S. Navy Commander Joseph Strauss estimates that more than 85 percent of his patients come directly from the battlefield. That, he said, brings medical challenges that doctors in most hospitals do not face.

"The severity is much higher here, the wounds themselves are significantly contaminated with debris, hay, grass, mud, everything from the terrain that is all over the patient. The wounds are dirty," Strauss said.

But being so close to the battlefield means if a patient makes it to Kandahar alive, chances are he will stay that way. The hospital has a 98 percent survival rate.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More