Corpsmen continue care

5 May 2004 | Lance Cpl. John E. Lawson Jr.

Corpsmen from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, conducted a Medical Civil Military Affairs operation May 5 in the village of Tezin here.

During the CMA the “devil docs” spent about four hours treating local patients at two stations in the village. They treated a total of 204 patients, 137 of which were children.

According to Navy Lt. Kenneth Uy, assistant battalion surgeon, Afghans sought treatment for ailments including heartburn, musculoskeletal pain, stomach problems, headache and arthritis. Many of the children were also treated for worms.

“They don’t have the simple things like Tylenol and Motrin. The medications we have in every bathroom are what they need the most,” he said. “It’s the simple medications and the vitamins that have the biggest impact.”

Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force, based at Bagram Airfield, provided all the medication distributed during the operation as part of the coalition’s ongoing effort to help the Afghan people.

The battalion designated Tezin and the neighboring village of Ghanz Tezin as a Provincial Development Zone, targeting it for this CMA operation because of the village’s history and reconstruction needs.

The village has a healthcare clinic, but doesn’t have any physicians.

“For many of these people, especially the children, we are the first doctors they have ever seen,” Uy said.

But there is only so much the corpsmen can do.

“We had patients bring in children with mental retardation or children who have obviously been disabled since birth. They expect us to have a pill or a doctor who can fix it,” Uy said. “We have to explain there is nothing we can do; even in America there is nothing we can do. They see American doctors and think we can fix anything.”

The corpsmen said they were happy with the operation though, citing the number of children they were able to treat. About 67 percent of the patients treated were children.

“It’s always nice to be able to help children in less fortunate circumstance by no fault of their own,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Ward.

“Hopefully we made a positive impact and did some good in our time here,” he added. “Anyone who chooses the medical field goes in with the intent to help people, and any opportunity to do that is worth the costs.”
Headquarters Marine Corps