The team of military medical providers removed an infected abscess from the girl’s upper right neck during a health cooperative, also referred to as a Medical Capabilities (MEDCAP) event.
This was the second such initiative led by the Marines and sailors of 3rd Civil Affairs Group, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix.
Three-year-old Miriam was brought into the makeshift facility barefoot and dirty by her 10-year-old brother and 1st Lt. Erik M. Lukas, an infantry officer assigned to Weapons Company, TF 2/7.
“When we brought her inside, she had boils and dirt all over her neck. I felt bad for her because I knew that it hurt,” said Lukas, who was mostly devastated by a boil on Miriam’s neck that was one and ½-inch wide and one and ¼-inch thick.
Navy Lt. Junior Grade James L. Armitage, a physician’s assistant, decided that he, his team of health providers and Lukas “had to do something” immediately. If the boil wasn’t removed from the toddler’s body, Armitage said the boil could have potentially become a lingering health threat.
“I’m glad she trusted Americans enough to come here because I don’t know where she would’ve received the proper professional treatment she required. Especially here, the people are poor,” Armitage said.
The medical procedure lasted about 15 minutes, but Lukas said the affects could last a lifetime.
“That’s one of the things we’re here to do, improve their quality of life. Like helping the sick people, we’re also helping the kids. I’m glad the little girl got help. Missions like MEDCAPs improve the atmospherics to allow the ANP (Afghanistan National Police) to do their job better; to learn better,” Lukas said.
Miriam is now recovering from her surgery in her Afghan home, thanks to the service members who continue to support various other civil affairs projects.
(Article and photos by Cpl. Ray Lewis, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force