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Marine Corps, Jordan and Israel Offer Hope for Iraqi Child Heart Patients (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
A unique and unusual merger of nations offers hope to eight small Iraqi kids who suffer from congenital heart failure.
(AL ASAD, Iraq) - U.S. Marines are among the most accomplished killers in the world, but this Marine Corps story is about giving and sustaining life, rather than taking it.
A Navy doctor attached to the U.S. Marines at Al Asad has put together an amazing program to help Iraqi children receive medical aid that is not available anywhere in their own country. Lt. Commander Christina Williams is a family practice physician from Oklahoma who came to this land of war and death to deliver a unique and unexpected gift of life.
"Well there are several children that have cardiac anomalies, holes in their hearts, and they have no resources in this country in order to address their situation. They already, some of them, have already been to Baghdad. They don't have the proper equipment to do surgery on them, so I found an organization that is out of Israel and it's working through Aman, Jordan, and we're going to try to get the children sent over to Aman to do an initial screening with an electrocardiogram and their cardiologists; and then if they're candidates for surgery, to send them on over to Israel for surgery."
The men, two of them fathers of the children, and one an uncle who is a child's caretaker and guardian, know that without this incredible new opportunity, the outcome would not look good.
Naser Kharrouy Mohmmaed, uncle of one of the children, said, "Right now in Iraq, you always have hope, and right now hope is coming to them."
I asked the doctor what the outcome would be without this special help involving the U.S. Marines and the three countries, Iraq, Jordan and Israel.
"Their outcome would be pretty dismal, they have no opportunity for surgery, and so they would succumb to their illnesses and probably die."
Speaking through an interpreter, Ahmed Karem, an Iraqi Policeman and father of one of the children, said all other attempts to seek and secure help have fallen short.
"He's taken her to all the hospitals, the major hospitals in Iraq, they haven't gotten the results yet, she's five and a half years old, and right now at this point, the only hope he's got is this right now."
This hope will now transform into something much larger, as the children move toward their combined goal of receiving treatment.
This Navy doctor attached to the Marine Corps at Al Asad in the Anbar Province says that while the number of children is relatively small, it is important to note that this treatment in reality, represents many things.
"I feel like I was in the right place at the right time. I think there is no mistake and that there is a higher power at work here, it's not just coincidence. I'll tell you one of my favorite stories that I just told someone else recently: there was this little boy who walking along the seashore and he was pelting these little starfish into the sea, and this man said, 'don't you know there are thousands of starfish on this beach? You can't possibly make a difference.' And the boy just picked up another starfish and threw it in the sea and said, 'I just made a difference for that one.'
"So, I know it's a very small number of children, but it helps them, it helps their families, it fosters good relationships between the Americans and the people, though that is not the motivation; the motivation is that one little sick child who is struggling to take a breath, you help that one child and you made a difference for them, so that's what is important."
Williams says that in addition to the eight heart patients, one youngster from Babylon will receive treatment for leukemia. She says the World Heart Organization is administering the program along with the U.S. Marines, Jordan and Israel.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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