ON THE MORNING OF August 16, in the small village of Wuerdiya, Iraq (which, as many of you will remember from the article "Ashes and Dust" last week, had been attacked and had a number of its mud brick homes burned by Shi'a terrorists only days before), Baker Company 1-15 held a "Med Op," or a free medical clinic, for the villagers.
After Baker Co. secured the site -- a recently refurbished school which was still empty due to summer vacation -- Sergeant First Class Marcus, a Special Forces Medic (according to USSOCOM regs, special operators are identified only by rank and first name), and a team from Army Civil Affairs arrived to provide medical treatment to the local villagers, and to give them bags containing foodstuffs for families and clothing (primarily Iraqi soccer team replica uniforms) and soccer balls for children.
Over 200 people showed up to receive care, and not a shot was fired in the town while we were there -- a great success. Perhaps the thing that most struck me -- besides, of course, the adorable nature of many Iraqi children -- was the number of serious, long-term medical conditions suffered by the people here which were (or will be) cured by the smallest doses of the correct American over-the-counter medication. A case in point is this man. When he arrived Thursday morning, he was in a wheelchair, could not feel his swollen legs, and had not walked in months. Marcus provided him with one week's worth of blood pressure medicine, after which he will be walking around again good as new. Amazing.
Typhoid and Strep Throat appeared to be very common viral and bacterial ailments; for men who labored outside, slipped discs were very common.
However, almost every person who showed up was treated (those injuries or ailments which required surgery or precise dosages of special medication - like diabetes - were not), and many people left saying "Praise Allah" for the Tylenol or minor antibiotics they had been given.
Some of the simple things that we take for granted here -- like the drugs we can buy at Kroger or Wal Mart, or the care of a competent medical professional -- are life-changing gifts made possible for the Iraqi people by the presence of the coalition.
More photographs of the event are available here.
- At 12:07 PM, said...
The comment that one week's worth of blood pressure medication will "fix his problem completely" is ludicrous. This is not to take away from the fine service that has been provided to the majority of Iraqi civilians in the effort described. It is just that ignorant comments about a serious medical condition takes away from the credibility of this reporters description.
- At 4:32 PM, Jeff Emanuel said...
Greetings "Anonymous." It just so happens that I was there (behind the camera; see the copyright below the picture?), and am simply relating what the medic said.
Reading the post, by the way, clearly confirms that what I was referring to was the fact that, after one week of medication, the man would be walking again, with the problems that kept him wheelchair bound fixed.
More treatment and medication will be necessary to maintain his BP at levels that you or I would be more comfortable with, but what he was given, and what the medic said along with it, are accurately recounted here.
Thanks for stopping by anonymously, and have a nice day.
- At 11:53 PM, Crystal said...
Well, contrary to what Anonymous said, I believe they are doing everything they can and are supplying all they can. Not to be rude to the Iraqi people, but they should feel lucky and fortunate to have any help from us, and to recieve ANY medication from us.
So HOOAH to them.
Thank gosh for you Jeff, because of you I got to see pictures of my boyfriend whose in Baker 1-15.
Thank you so incredibly much.