Saturday, July 07, 2007

14th Flight

Had my 14th flight yesterday. An Iraqi 7 year old boy, with a single, small, hole in his head from a bad guy mortar round (all injury information is from what I could cobble together, I cannot attest to the veracity of what happened prior to his arrival to our facility). According to the person that brought him in, one of the mortar rounds that were directed at the local Marines hit an apartment complex instead. This boy, name unknown, was delivered to those Marines that were targeted, and then brought to us. No name, no family, no history other than guesswork. His age is a guess, which something as simple as guessing the age of these children has proven to be a problem for us, as the children here are smaller than American children of the same age we are used to seeing. A 5 year old child here will often be identified by many of us as a 3 year old, a 9 year old as a 6 year old, etc. I'd imagine that nutrition has a lot to do with this.
The doctors and staff here attempted to stabilize the boy, but there is only so much we can do for these severe head injuries at this facility, he needed specialty care. I flew with him to one of our Level 3 hospitals, and this was one of my busiest flights yet. Didn't even have a chance to look out a window. Vital signs reflected the increasing pressure inside this kids head (not good), and I learned some things about head injuries that I had not heard about previously. The child was intubated, and I ensured he remained unconscious and paralyzed with medications. I'd like to say I delivered him to the facility in the same shape he left TQ in, but I honestly am not sure. His vitals were similar, but time under pressure is more damage to these brains, pressure that can not be relieved until specialty care.
Your prayers are appreciated for this boy.

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