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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid