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Medics save Afghan woman, deliver her baby

Feb. 25, 2007 - 10:58AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 25, 2007 - 10:58AM  |  
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Doctors at Forward Operating Base Naray in southern Afghanistan saved two lives at once when a pregnant woman with an abdominal gunshot wound appeared at the front gate.

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Doctors at Forward Operating Base Naray in southern Afghanistan saved two lives at once when a pregnant woman with an abdominal gunshot wound appeared at the front gate.

A Feb. 21 press release from International Security Assistance Force said Noor Begum had traveled with her husband for two hours along a remote roadway to reach the base.

Medics Sgt. Cody Vernon, Spc. Peter Lee and Pfc. Elizabeth Marsteller hurried to the gate and found the bleeding woman with a large-caliber gunshot wound to her abdomen. Begum was transferred to an Afghan National Army ambulance and driven to the medical tent.

Medics from 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and the Landstuhl, Germany-based 160th Forward Surgical Team evaluated the woman and collected as much information as they could before rushing her to surgery.

She had a gunshot wound in her central abdomen, her intestines were protruding and she was full-term.

In the operating room she was anesthetized by Maj. Warren Cusick and opened up by a surgical team of Maj. Erick Martell, Cpl. Michael Bega and Maj. Mohamad Haque, the release said.

The baby boy, who had a grazing wound to his buttocks, was delivered by Caesarian section and immediately cared for by emergency nurses Capt. Stephen Schmelzer and Sgt. Augustus Francis.

They warmed and resuscitated the infant, who soon had a "rosy color and a lusty cry," the press release said.

When Begum awoke from anesthesia, her first question was, "Mashom singa dai?" or "How is the baby?"

The baby's father, Walayat Khan, and Begum named their child Abdul Haque.

According to the press release, reports said criminals near the town of Nishigam had fired rounds from AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at three Afghan cargo trucks, destroying them and their cargo.

Begum and her family were bystanders at the scene of attack.

Shots fired at the sedan-style taxi pierced her abdomen, hitting her womb and skimming her unborn child.

Swaddled in a combination of traditional Afghan garb and American humanitarian assistance baby clothing, mother and child were discharged to their home a few kilometers from Naray, taking a stock of food and blankets and their son's English-Pashto birth certificate.

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