Monday, January 4, 2010

Brit medics save Afghan child from killer disease

Rahmadulla being transported to Camp Bastion Hospital by helicopter. Picture: Lt Sally Armstrong

Medics at the British run hospital at Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, have saved the life of an Afghan child who nearly died from Tetanus, a disease now virtually extinct in the UK.

Six year old Rahmadullah was taken by his father to a small American base, FOB Dwyer, in southern Helmand Province, where doctors diagnosed the killer disease and advised immediate evacuation to the larger British run medical facility at Camp Bastion.

Lieutenant Colonel Andy Johnston, a Royal Army Medical Corps Consultant Physician previously based at the Royal College of Defence Medicine, Sellyoak, said:

“When Rahmadullah arrived here at Bastion, he was having severe and painful muscular spasms which were affecting his whole body and interfering with his breathing. He also developed pneumonia and had to be put on a ventilator for two weeks. He was extremely unwell.”

“This was very much a team effort to get this little boy through his life threatening illness. If it wasn’t for the efforts of the doctors at Dwyer and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team at Bastion, Rahmadullah would have died. Fortunately, he has gradually improved to the point where he is now well enough to go home.”

It seems the Tetanus developed from a tiny cut on the little boy’s foot. Doctors were initially unsure what the illness was, unable to recognise symptoms that are now rare in the west thanks to vaccination programmes. However, once diagnosed, the doctors and nurses at Camp Bastion Hospital were able to offer the treatment needed and nurse the child back to health.
Picture: Scott Olson/Getty images

“We see a lot of children in ICU, usually as a result of road traffic accidents or military trauma. Often they die from the severity of their injuries so it is very gratifying to see this little boy get better.”

Through an interpreter, Rahmadullah’s father, Nicknazer, a farmer from southern Helmand near the Pakistan border said:

“I saw my son getting weak and coughing. I took him to local doctors but they couldn’t do anything, so I took him to the local military base [FOB Dwyer]. There, I was told he was very ill and needed to come to Bastion.”
Initial treatment. Picture: Scott Olson/Getty images

“You can see how happy he is. The doctors and nurses have been fantastic. I had no money to spend on local doctors who are very expensive. My son would have died if I had not brought him here, so I am very pleased.”


  1. You are doing so much good out there.... why aren't the positive reults being shown in the media. Keep safe all of you and keep up the good work you are doing.

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/04/2010 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. This is brilliant. It's good to hear of stuff like this. I wonder if the mainstream media will pick up on it?

  4. This shows not only are the soldiers on the front line doing an incredible job, but so are the people behind the scenes. This shows true deterimation to turn such a horrific country round.

  5. Good that he did not neglect the illness and took him to the military doctors.A life saved is a huge reward.I hope the child has a fairly good health through his lifespan.Best wishes for him.