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Baby Survives Al Qaeda IED Attack


Air Force Maj. Sheralyn Wood, Task Force Med doctor and pediatrician, shows nine-month old Salma, the sole survivor of an improvised explosive device detonation that left her orphaned, a stuffed animal, while her maternal-uncle Mohammad Saber holds her. She has been under the care of the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital medical staff at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, since July 5.  Photo by Senior Airman Dilia Degrego.

This story just came across the wire:

Baby Doing Well After Surviving IED Blast

By Senior Airman Dilia DeGrego
Combined Joint Task Force-82

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – An improvised explosive device blast claimed the lives of two Afghan parents. However, their nine-month-old daughter Salma survived the attack and is recovering at Bagram Airfield.

After more than two weeks of fighting for her life, Salma, which means “protected” in Arabic, has surpassed the odds and is thriving and interacting with Craig Joint-Theater Hospital medical staff.

The IED detonated under her family’s vehicle in the Pech District, Kunar province, July 5 while they were driving home from a doctor’s visit. Salma was propelled from the vehicle, suffering a right-arm fracture, bilateral leg fractures, lacerations to her spleen and liver and a skull fracture.

Since her arrival at CJTH, Salma has been under the skillful eye of Air Force and Army medical staff. Her maternal-uncle, Mohammad Saber sit vigilantly by her side.

“When she first got here she was almost dead,” Saber said. “If she hadn’t been treated here, she would have died. I believe God chose the American doctors to care for her. They have given her a second chance at life. I greatly appreciate (everything the medical staff) has done for her. They have taken care of her like a mother would.”...

“She is a very special patient,” said Air Force Maj. Sheralyn Wood, Task Force Med doctor and pediatrician and Salma’s primary care provider. “When you see a (head CT) scan like that you think, ‘wow this is bad,’ but children are amazing and they can recover from severe injuries like this.

“It has been a roller coaster ride,” continued Wood. “Everyday I’d come in and assess how she was doing and whether she’s progressing. For the first seven days she was on multiple medications to reduce the swelling in her brain and stop her seizures. The most difficult thing for me was not knowing how much she would recover in the long-run, then the day she opened her eyes and moved her hand - that’s when I started to have hope that she would be OK.”

In the midst of the tragic loss of Saber’s sister (Salma’s mother) and his brother-in law, he finds strength in knowing that Salma is going to be OK.

“When everything happened, I could not think of the bomb, all I could do was focus on her,” Saber said. “Everyone only has so much time in this world and it was not her time to go. I believe it was God’s will for her to live. She is a survivor.”

“My hope is that the people of Afghanistan will one day be at peace and that these cruel people (who put IEDs on the road) will stop their atrocities,” he continued. “The people of Afghanistan need to join together and rebuild our country.”

Salma will never know her parents, but her uncle said “she will know how special she is and what a miracle it is that she is alive.” With Salma’s continued determination to live, her doctors foresee her going home within a few days, where she will continue healing under the care of her family and friends.