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TF Med Falcon continues miracle work

Story by Sgt. Chris DeHart

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Members of the 67th Combat Support Hospital have built a reputation for successfully dealing with some very unusual medical situations during their time here. The newest members of Task Force Med Falcon were able to add to that reputation with a recent case they received.

A newborn girl was found alongside a road Nov. 22 by members of the Jordanian army, wrapped in nothing more than a bloody comforter, according to Sgt. Chad M. Gooding, flight medic, 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance). The baby was then taken by the Jordanians to their camp north of Urosevac, Kosovo. A medical evacuation request was called in from there, and a helicopter with the 45th picked up the baby, Gooding added.

"Her body temperature was extremely low, about 92 degrees Fahrenheit, at the time we received her. We initiated standard resuscitation immediately. Her umbilical cord was not clamped, but her breathing and other vitals were fine. Once she was stabilized, it was really more a matter of maintaining her," said Maj. Shelley Rice, chief nurse, TF Med Falcon 1B.

From what medical personnel could tell of the baby’s condition, she was likely found within several hours of delivery, and all her birth products were wrapped up with her, Rice added.

One reason this case was more difficult than others was the 67th is not really equipped to handle babies or toddlers, according to Rice.

"We have not seen a lot of real young babies or toddlers here. The youngest has been a 2-year old so far. We had a crib to put the baby in and some local nationals who work here acquired other supplies downtown for her," Rice said. "We are very fortunate she has been healthy. We don’t have a pediatrician here if anything serious were to go wrong. There are several family practice doctors here though who performed a more thorough assessment on her after she was stabilized."

One of the emergency room personnel who worked on the baby said it was truly amazing, considering the circumstances in which she was found, she was in relatively good condition.

"When we got the call, we were just waiting to see if (the case) was anything at all. A lot of times, what is called in isn’t exactly what we get. It was hard to believe. She wasn’t in very bad condition, really just cold and hungry. It is not something you see everyday," said Sgt. Georgery D. Fields, licensed practical nurse, TF Med Falcon.

Rice admitted the hospital staff is somewhat attached to the baby, even going so far as giving her a name, at least for the duration of her stay with them. They named her Rose Michele Steel; each part of her name having been chosen by some of the parties involved, according to Rice. However, the staff’s number one concern is to get "Baby Rose" into a safe home in a secure environment.

"Many U.S. soldiers have said they want to adopt Rose and were very serious about it. However, according to international law, there can be no adoptions outside this (province)," Rice said. "A local adoption agency will place her in a foster home until an adoption is finalized."

"Baby Rose" received a lot of attention Thanksgiving day when Hollywood stars Salma Hayek, Danica McKellar and Garret Morris visited during their tour as part of "Operation Starlift." The staff was only too happy to show off Rose to the celebrities, according to Rice.

Despite the attention received by this particular case and its unusual nature, the treatment given and effort put forth by the hospital staff is the same as can be expected for any case brought to them.

"I feel that if there is any way we can help and provide support, then we will. That is what we are here for," Rice said. "If we can make a difference in someone’s life, for a day or for years to come, then we have done what we’re supposed to do."