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Patriotic Article
War and Tragedy

By USAF TSgt. Oshawn Jefferson

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Joint Hospital Caring for War-fighters, Afghans
(June 1, 2010)

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Army Capt. Andrew Kontowicz, left, a nurse assigned to the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Davis Williams, an internal medicine doctor assigned to the 452nd CSH, with the help of an Afghan nurse conduct an assessment of a patient medically evacuated from the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, May 12, to Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan. With a mission of taking care of U.S. Coalition warfighters and their allies, the Salerno medical staff partners with medical entities within Afghanistan and responds to local national emergencies.
Army Capt. Andrew Kontowicz, left, a nurse assigned to the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Davis Williams, an internal medicine doctor assigned to the 452nd CSH, with the help of an Afghan nurse conduct an assessment of a patient medically evacuated from the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, May 12, to Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan. With a mission of taking care of U.S. Coalition warfighters and their allies, the Salerno medical staff partners with medical entities within Afghanistan and responds to local national emergencies. Photo by USAF SSSgt. Manuel Martinez
 FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan -- Located in the Khost province, a joint team of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen are working at the Salerno Hospital to "care for those in harm's way".

"This has been a wonderful place to learn, grow and develop my skills as an emergency-medical technician," said Tech. Sgt. William Haley at the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, deployed from 141st Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. "This is one of the most dedicated, motivated and caring teams I have ever worked with and I am proud to be a part of this mission."

With a mission of taking care of U.S. and coalition war-fighters, being a combined-action partner with medical entities within Afghanistan and responding to local national emergencies, Salerno hospital personnel are on the front lines.

"We have a unique and fulfilling mission here," said Army Lt. Col. Patrician Ten Haaf, 452nd CSH commander. "There are some rough days dealing with casualties at the facility but that is part of working in a trauma clinic. Our team has bonded together through creative problem solving, team work and the ability to smile through almost anything."

One unique aspect of the hospital is that Afghan doctors work here assessing patients alongside American doctors. Together they assist and prescribe any medication or schedule any necessary procedures.

"This has been a wonderful experience for me and it's been good to work with intelligent practitioners eager to assist the people of their nation," said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) David Williams, 452nd CSH chief of internal medicine. "We learn from each other and we all get a chance to expand our skills for the betterment of every one of the customers we serve."

The hospital staff has certain days designated for family medicine, pediatrics and general medicine. On average, they see five to seven patients daily.

"We have had some great moments here," said Staff Sgt. Rebekah Boe, 452nd CSH EMT, who is one of 12 Airmen assigned to the hospital here. "Getting to work with Afghans and provide a service to their families and people in the local community is something I will carry with me always."

In addition, the hospital also receives medical evacuation patients, Afghanistan national army, Afghanistan national army air corps soldiers, as well as local nationals and helps them get back their units and families after receiving higher medical care at other hospitals throughout Afghanistan.

"Getting a patient back from a higher medical care facility is a good thing," Haley said. "It means somebody is getting to go home or a patient has returned to us and we can continue caring for them here. This job is stressful at times but getting to help someone will always put a smile on my face."
By USAF TSgt. Oshawn Jefferson, U.S. AFCENT Combat Camera Team
Copyright 2010

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