Friday, March 13, 2009


Special Ops medical troops help sick Afghan baby

Mar 11

By CJSOTF-A Public Affairs

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 11, 2009) - Afghan baby boy Ramazan had an incredibly bleak future for most of his short life.

Not even a year old, the infant was hanging on by a thread, unable to eat normally due to a congenital defect that left an opening in the palate of his mouth. Finally, in late January, he was brought by his father to a Special Operations Forces clinic in the Shindand district, Herat province.

Ramazan's family had new reason to hope as the Shindand troops took over care of the then 6-month-old infant.

The clinic staff in Shindand developed a special bottle to help feed Ramazan, but he was still not getting enough nourishment. The clinic decided to have the baby and his father flown to Bagram Airfield for a more in-depth evaluation.

"We couldn't turn our back on Ramazan's condition, knowing he would die before the age of 5 without specialized medical attention. Our caring for this baby can also have a critical impact on the people of this area. Our true dedication and commitment to the people of Afghanistan is evident," said Army Maj. Mike Tarpey, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan surgeon.

At the hospital, Coalition doctors discovered Ramazan had Pierre Robin Sequence, a congenital condition leaving him with an abnormally small jaw, an oversized tongue and a cleft palate, or incomplete closure in the roof of his mouth. Tarpey worked in conjunction with Coalition doctors to arrange an operation for the baby.

"Ramazan had surgery to repair the cleft palate, but complications arose because he was already so fragile and malnourished," Tarpey said.

"The baby is still having difficulty breathing and feeding; essentially, he will need prolonged care as he grows into his tongue and jaw, which will need to happen before he can breathe and eat on his own," Tarpey added. Ramazan currently has a tracheotomy, as well as a feeding tube in his stomach, both of which require advanced levels of care.

After an extended stay at the hospital, Ramazan's care was turned over to CJSOTF-A medical troops, who have welcomed the baby with open arms. Ramazan's father, who has five other children under the age of seven, had to return to his home in Shindand district to support the rest of his family.

[Go here to read the rest of this one, and see a VERY cute picture which I couldn't seem to download :( ]

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