13 August 2008

Military volunteers run burn clinic in Iraq, providing "tenderness and Tylenol"

Here are two videos about the burn clinic for children at CSC Scania in Iraq. It is operated by volunteers from the US Military and using donated medical supplies.

SGT Joseph Barzeski of 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division is the current NCOIC, but the clinic was started by 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, 34th Brigade Combat Team, Minnesota National Guard.

It began as a Family Practice clinic for the local Iraqis, but as time went on the medics saw more and more burn victims due to the high number of cooking and heating accidents common in Iraq.

The story actually made the CBS Evening News recently.

Sgt. Joe Barzeski is the closest thing in Central Iraq to a miracle worker.

And 11-year-old Ali is going to need a miracle to get over burns from a kerosene stove.

"(The skin) has to come off so that the medicine will work," Barzeski tells CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer as he starts treating the child. "Plus, this will get all crusty, and scab up and that will be an ugly scar."

The soldiers turn up the radio to drown out the crying. Conditions are primitive. But even so, the burn unit is filled to capacity.

It's tucked away on a U.S. base that's known as the biggest gas station in Iraq. It's where military convoys refuel - while on the far side, Iraqi families, as many as 80 a day, wait patiently to be admitted to a clinic that's more M.A.S.H. unit than E.R.

Barzeski had no medical training before he joined the Army - so he's been learning on the job.

Many of the volunteers are tough convoy security guards. They dish out tenderness and Tylenol, or painstakingly changing burn victims' dressings while their trucks are serviced.

If you'd like to help, the top video has contact information included near the end.

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