The Corner

Healing Iraq — Literally

I highly recommend this really heartening story from the AP about how the U.S. is saving lives and building goodwill in Iraq:

US combat hospital saving more wounded Iraqis

By ANNA JOHNSON 

BALAD, Iraq (AP) — The U.S. military’s main combat hospital in Iraq has increasingly switched to helping Iraqis. As the numbers of wounded American soldiers have fallen, the hospital is now saving the lives of a remarkable 93 percent of Iraqis who come with devastating injuries.

It’s another sign of the radical improvements in health care made at combat trauma care units in war time — especially because unlike U.S. soldiers, most Iraqi patients at the Air Force Theater Hospital don’t wear body armor and helmets or drive in vehicles designed to withstand roadside bombs.

“There are people with injuries that are brought here, and I say this with confidence, if they went anywhere else in the world, they would not survive,” said Col. Mark Mavity, the commander of the hospital.

On one recent day, 5-year-old Sajad Lafta lay in his bed crying for his father while his older half brother, Abdul Wahid, tried to comfort him by holding up a picture of a puppy that Sajad colored while recovering at the hospital.

The boy didn’t know yet that Wahid, 25, came to visit him because his father was attending the funerals for two of his other young sons. They were killed by a car bomb that blew off Sajad’s lower left leg and left tiny pieces of metal scattered over his body.

“Thank God, we are positive he is going to live,” said Wahid, who planned to bring the puppy picture home to their mother as proof that Sajad was alive.

Over the years, the hospital on Balad Air Base has become synonymous with combat trauma care. It is best known for saving countless U.S. soldiers with catastrophic battle injuries — more than 96 percent on average over the six-month period ending in August.

But even more astonishing: during that same time, about 93 percent of Iraqis left the hospital alive — up from an average of 89.7 percent during the previous six months.

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