Skip to comments.Cavalry Soldiers help provide Medical Aid
Posted on 11/04/2007 2:35:38 PM PST by SandRat
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HOPE In an area where clinics are scarce and a trip to the hospital is too far, residents in the New Baghdad District of eastern Baghdad were helped when the Iraqi National Police provided security and joined Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, attached to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, providing medical care Oct. 29.
After they were seen by a doctor, residents were allowed to choose from clothing, soccer balls and other items for their family as they left with more than 300 of them seeing a doctor.
Capt. Cindi J. Schuler, the physicians assistant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd IBCT, said more patients were able to be seen during this operation due to the increase in the number of medics working with each doctor.
Schuler, a native of Houston, treated the women and some children, and said the people were anxious to see a doctor.
1st Lt. Jamison E. Gaddy, the battalion physician assistant for 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, said the only medical attention the locals receive is through nurses offering medical care from their homes, and even that isnt on a constant basis and lacks follow-up care. However, one patient Gaddy attended said the people are happy to receive help and wanted to help secure the area so they stopped two locals from planting improvised explosive devices in the area.
Gaddy, a native of Camden, Del., treated men and older boys, and he said the most common ailments he saw were battle-related injuries. Many patients had burns or shrapnel wounds from explosions.
There were more combat wounds here than at the other ones, he said of past medical operations.
Many patients were afflicted with ailments unable to be treated through a medical mission, but that was only part of the challenge. Schuler said there isnt a continuing medical education program.
Some of the ways we operate, we take healing time and cosmetics into mind, he said. But, they are antiquated in their knowledge so they dont think about scars.
Numerous patients coming to receive aid had large scars on their bodies from operations such as kidney surgeries and Cesarean sections. Schuler said 2IBCT bought medical books to be handed out to the local clinics to enable doctors to gain more knowledge and catch up to what is going on in the medical community.
The Ministry of Health is trying to do continuous education programs, Schuler said, so the primary focus of the medical operations is to give health care to the local populace.
Gaddy said some members of the Ministry of Health came to receive free medical care. Many people who came had major surgeries in their past and Gaddy said they were searching for more answers concerning their condition.
Lt. Col. David Fontaine, a native of New Orleans, and the battalion surgeon for 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, is a pediatrician, and was on hand to treat the children.
Fontaine, who had a private practice in pediatrics for 10 years and who now works at the pediatrics clinic in the hospital at Fort Hood, Texas, said many of the ailments plaguing the Iraqi children were textbook cases of illnesses that are easily treated in the United States. Some of the problems also stemmed from malnutrition.
I did a little bit of good for those who were seen, he said.
Fontaine said the severities of these problems are rarely seen in the United States, such as iodine deficiency goiter. He said the affliction used to affect children in the United States until iodine was added to table salt and now its virtually unheard of.
There were a number of items I saw that were nutritionally related, he said. A number of the children have spina bifida, which in the Western world has been dramatically reduced by the addition of folate to the maternal diet.
Fontaine said he handed out multi-vitamins for the families to help with nutrition.
The typical nutritional problems of feeding children in general, along with the usual social and economic problems that exist in the Third World, causes malnutrition and nutritional related diseases, he said.
Throughout the day, the medics were able to see ailments they wouldnt find in the States and learned how to treat patients with the medicines they had available, Schuler said. She said the range of ages they see during a medical operation vary greatly from the 18 to 40- year-old healthy adults they typically see at the aid stations and hospitals.
My experience with medics who come out for the first time, is that they learn a lot and learn how easy healthcare is where we are, she said.
Gaddy said the experience makes medics more independent through confidence and knowledge, which enables them to identify things they wouldnt have been able to before.