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Kuchi villagers welcome Illinois Army Guard medics 
Around The Guard 
Illinois Gurdsmen reviews and fills prescriptions at Kuchi Village  
Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Christianson, Illinois Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Sustainment Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery based in Chicago, reviews and fills prescriptions at Kuchi Village during their medical assistance visit April 5. (Photo by G.A. Volb, Camp Alamo Public Affairs)
By G.A. Volb, Afghanistan Public Affairs 

CAMP ALAMO, Afghanistan - Five miles northeast of here sits Kuchi Village, a rural community of nearly 1,000, which is in much need of medical attention.

Residents were visited by coalition medical assistants on April 5.

“I’m happy about this mission,” said Kuchi Village elder Nungless as he looked out over the crowd of villagers who had gathered. “I’m happy because it was the coalition and Afghan National Army (ANA) that came to help us.”

The 72-year-old sporting a thick, white beard appreciated the opportunity to receive free check ups and medicine. It wasn’t the first time he welcomed these guests.

“We’ve visited the people of Kuchi Village on numerous occasions, and they told us they had some medical issues,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Christianson, a medical embedded training team non-commissioned officer in charge, who is with the Illinois Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Sustainment Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 122 Field Artillery.

Christianson said during one of their previous visits they agreed to return and perform an on-site medical evaluation and treatment of the villagers.

Afghan doctors and medics, both Army and civilian, along with their U.S. counterparts, ensured 80 villagers were seen including women and children.

“We dispensed approximately 300 prescriptions, while referring nine patients to the local Cure Medical Hospital,” said Christianson. “Much of it was similar to what we’ve seen at other villages with muscular pain and various infectious diseases requiring antibiotic treatment.”

The issues were, in many cases, due to the poor living conditions and lack of clean drinking water. 

In one particular case, a 35-year-old man, who looked to be in his late 40s, came into the makeshift medical tent wanting doctors to look at his lab and ultrasound results.

“There was nothing to indicate what preceded the ordering of the tests,” said Dr. (Air Force Lt. Col.) Scott Caulkins, a family practice physician normally assigned to Hurlburt Field, Fla.

“He gave a history of edema and body aches. Labs showed signs of kidney disease and mildly elevated liver function studies, and negative hepatitis tests. Ultrasounds of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder only showed stones up in the kidney.”

“As long as the stones stay in the kidney, he has a greater risk of being harmed in the process of getting them removed, but other lab indications suggest other medical kidney disease,” said Caulkins.  “We gave him a referral for an internal medicine evaluation at the Cure hospital downtown, and recommended increased hydration in general.”

Then there was 6-year-old Neamatullah who, only days earlier, had a run in with one of the many large dogs loitering throughout the village.

“The dog bit him four days ago,” said his father Ghundal. “Yet this was the second time the ANA and U.S. doctors have treated him.”

“It’s always a pleasure to get out and perform our real mission, helping the local Afghan people that are so desperately in need of medical care, making new friends, and exchanging cultural knowledge,” said Christianson.

Camp Alamo’s commander agreed on the importance of such missions.

“Humanitarian assistance visits, such as this, are a key component of counter-insurgency operations,” said Lt. Col. Brian Redmon, the mentor group commander from the Illinois Guard.

4/17/2009