Despite Herculean Efforts, Young Afghan Boy Dies
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2005 U.S. military officials expressed condolences April 16 over the death of an Afghan toddler following Herculean efforts to save him from a life-threatening heart ailment that included surgery in the United States.
Sixteen-month-old Qudrat Ullah Wardak died April 14, just two days after his 7,000-mile return trip to Afghanistan following open-heart surgery March 8 at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Indiana National Guard troops were instrumental in helping pave the way for the young boy's trip to the United States for treatment. Last September, the boy's father reportedly carried him seven miles to Camp Phoenix, a U.S. base in Afghanistan, in search of the medical care his son desperately needed.
With the help of the Indiana Guard members at the base and the Rotary Clubs of Central Indiana, Qudrat was flown to Indianapolis for the operation. He quickly showed improvement but died two days after returning to Afghanistan.
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan said members of Qudrat's refugee village outside Kabul informed them of the young boy's death. Staff from the Task Force Phoenix Troop Medical Clinic immediately deployed to the village and confirmed the news. Officials said reports indicate Qudrat died in his father's arms.
"Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family, and this story touched the hearts of many Americans, both here in our coalition forces and back in the United States, particularly in Indiana, " said Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, CFCA commander, during a press conference April 16.
"Our condolences go out to Qudrat's family and the members of the refugee village. This is a very sad day," added Maj. Eric Bloom, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul.
Officials said there is no doubt that Qudrat received the best possible medical care U.S. soldiers and the staff of Riley Hospital for Children could provide.
Over the course of the last eight months, officials said soldiers from Troop Medical Clinic and Security Force in Kabul have spent "countless hours" caring for the villagers at the refugee camp.
"We will continue to visit the refugee village, we will continue to provide the best possible care we can, and we will continue to support the village through this difficult time," officials said April 1.