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Medical team saves severely wounded boy
U.S. Forces Iraq ^ | Airman 1st Class Allison M. Boehm, USAF

Posted on 04/10/2010 5:29:45 PM PDT by SandRat

JOINT BASE BALAD -- Sajad Hany Shaker Mahmud was involved in an improvised explosive device attack near here, Jan. 24. He had just climbed into a vehicle for a short trip when the IED detonated. Sajad, however, has no known enemies, disputes, business conflicts or political aspirations. He is only six-years-old.

Sajad is still recovering from the blast that killed his grandfather and left him with multiple burns to his legs, a right arm fracture and a severely fractured left leg, which had to be amputated from below the knee. The constant care and close-knit bonds he formed with the medical staff at the Air Force Theater Hospital here helped pull him through.

"I remember wondering if this boy was ever going to have a normal life again," said 1st Lt. Emily Adams, 332nd Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron intermediate care ward nurse. "I remember taking care of him his first night on the unit, and it was horrible - horrible for Sajad, his father and the staff. It has been amazing to see him transform throughout his stay here."

For weeks, the inconsolable child constantly cried out, pulled at his hair, screamed and regularly awoke during the night from nightmares.  But as the weeks went on, he formed close relationships with his caregivers, and he began to feel more comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings. Medical staff went out of their way to make one of their youngest patients feel loved and cared for in a time that he needed it the most.

"We always would try to make him smile and for the longest time he wouldn't," said 2nd Lt. Sarah Marks, 332nd EMDOS intermediate care ward nurse. "One day we were racing around in his wheelchair, and he finally smiled. It was so exciting to finally see him laughing again."

Over the last 72 days, the bonds shared between the medical staff and Sajad have proven valuable as a deep trust ensued. This trust is displayed when Sajad gives the medical staff, which he knows by name, hugs and kisses - referring to many as "Habebe" which means “my love” in Arabic.

The staff in turn has learned many words in Arabic to better communicate with Sajad, and their compassion shows.

"Gradually this little boy no longer looked at you with sheer terror in his eyes," said Adams. "His personality began to shine through, and you started to believe this kid could have a normal life again after such a tragedy. He's grown to trust us, and we've grown to love him."

The smiles and laughing continued as the medical staff celebrated his sixth birthday with him and his father. Hospital staff and fellow patients gathered around his bedside as he received numerous birthday wishes, gifts and even a cake.

"They care about Sajad, and I am very appreciative for this celebration -- nobody can do this for him at home,” said Sajad's father, Hany Shaker Mahmud.  “All the ranks came to tell my son happy birthday, and I can't forget what they are doing here. I will leave with a lot of good memories of the Americans -- I don't know how I will ever repay them for what they have done for my son. What I saw here -- it is something you can't dream of."

"It's a privilege and honor to care for the kids who have undeservingly suffered from this conflict," said Adams. "To see him off will be bittersweet, but mostly sweet. We will miss his bright eyes and smile, but we are thankful that through all the hard work and dedication by the amazing health care team he will be able live life to the fullest."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: frwn; iraq; life; save

1 posted on 04/10/2010 5:29:45 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: MozartLover; Old Sarge; Jemian; repubmom; 91B; HiJinx; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; ...
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.


2 posted on 04/10/2010 5:30:07 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat
Had to email this to my daughter. She was in Joint Base Balad - then Camp Anaconda - in 2003 just after the first troops went in. Balad was a deserted, broken down Iraqi air base, some buildings in shambles. She setup the first installation-wide communications system - phone, radio, computers, etc. It's obvious that it's come a long way from then.
3 posted on 04/10/2010 5:44:31 PM PDT by ArmyTeach ( ...speak true, right wrong, follow the King Tennyson)
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To: SandRat

Uplifting. GOD Bless our military.

4 posted on 04/11/2010 7:10:35 AM PDT by Dustbunny ("Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. " Ronald Reagan)
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