February 15, 2010

Navy Corpsmen Save Injured Afghan Girl in Marjah


Navy hospital corpsmen of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, prepare talk to Azerha, a 4-year-old Afghan girl injured by a piece of shrapnel from an explosion near her home Feb. 10, before inserting a needle to decompress her collapsed lung. Azerha's brother, Quassiam, brought her for medical treatment to the Marine encampment at the Five Points intersection, a key junction of roads between Marjeh and Nawa. Azerha was flown to a medical trauma facility and is expected to make a full recovery. Photo by Sgt. Brian Tuthill



Petty Officer 2nd Class Nashon Stark, a hospital corpsman with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, checks the vital signs of Azerha, a 4-year-old Afghan girl who suffered a shrapnel wound after an improvised exposive device detonated near her home Feb. 10. Azerha's brother, Quassiam, brought her for medical treatment to the Marine encampment at the Five Points intersection, a key junction of roads between Marjeh and Nawa. Azerha was flown to a medical trauma facility and is expected to make a full recovery. Photo by Sgt. Brian Tuthill


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HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – When a 4-year-old Afghan girl named Azerha was struck by shrapnel Feb. 10, her brother Quassiam did the only thing he could think of – approach a group of armed Marines miles away and ask for medical assistance.

He drove his sister east from near the city of Marjah toward an intersection known as "Five Points," a key intersection of roads connecting northern Marjah with the eastern areas of Helmand province. Marines and Sailors of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, seized the Five Points area the day prior during a helicopter-borne assault.

Azerha had been struck in the chest by a fragment of metal from an improvised explosive device using 82 mm mortar rounds which detonated near her home. The wound had caused bleeding and breathing problems for Azerha by the time she arrived, Navy corpsman reported as they examined and began to stabilize her for a medical evacuation to a medical trauma facility.

"When the car came and I approached the vehicle, I saw the blood coming from her chest," said Petty Officer 1st Class Eric E. Casasflores, 30, an independent duty corpsman assigned to Charlie Co., 1/3. "I could see there was a small wound where something had penetrated. Once we put the dressing on, she began having more trouble breathing and I determined we needed to medevac her."

While waiting inside the walls of a farming compound for a helicopter to arrive, corpsmen treating Azerha found that her lung was beginning to collapse. Between the time her flight was scheduled to arrive and her worsening symptoms, Casasflores, the senior corpsman on scene, decided they had to act quickly to stabilize their patient. READ MORE...

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