An Afghan infant with a serious heart defect is on a journey to the United States for surgery that could save his life. The US military is flying 14 month old Qudratullah, along with his impovershed father, Hakim Gul, and a translator to Indianapolis for treatment unavailable in Afghanistan.
The journey began early in the morning as Hakim Gul carried his pale-looking son, wrapped in a blue blanket, out of the family's home at a camp for displaced people in Kabul.
"He has a heart problem and it wasn't curable here. The Americans helped us a lot and we're very happy about that and we appreciate their assistance. We also appreciate the help our own government has given us," says his father.
Medics from the Indiana National Guard, serving in Afghanistan, discovered the boy in September and diagnosed him with a congenital heart condition called tetralogy of fallot, or TOF. The boys faulty heart reduces the flow of blood to the lungs which causes stunted growth and loss of brain function and can be fatal.
Captain Mike Roscoe, a US medic in Afghanistan says the surgery was Qudratullah's only hope.
"Without the surgery, Qudrutullah would not survive. The lifespan of tetralogy of fallot (TOF) vary but with his poor health, it's something that's needed earlier than later. So we've seen him numerous times here, we did some preventative care with him," says Dr. Roscoe.
Volunteer surgeons are to perform the open-heart operation on the boy at Riley Children's hospital in Indianapolis, which has offered to fund the 50,000 US dollars surgery with its own donations, military officials said.