Air Force Neurosurgeon Saves Afghan Child’s Life
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2007 An Air Force neurosurgeon assigned to Craig Joint Theater Hospital here saved the life of an 8-month-old Afghan girl earlier this month.
Air Force neurosurgeon Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty performs surgery on an 8-month-old Afghan girl suffering from an arachnoid cyst, or “water on the brain,” at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Without the help of McCafferty’s expertise, the young girl, who is now in good condition, was not expected to survive. Defense Department photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The child, from Parwan province, was originally taken by her parents to El Salem Egyptian Field Hospital with symptoms including excessive head growth, eye abnormalities and irritability.
After Egyptian physicians referred her to the U.S. hospital, Air Force neurosurgeon Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty diagnosed a congenital brain abnormality called an “arachnoid cyst” at the base of the young girl’s brain.
“The cyst had caused blockage of the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, thus causing hydrocephalus (commonly known as ‘water on the brain’),” McCafferty said. “Left untreated, the condition could have eventually been fatal.”
Thanks to the recent deployment of neurosurgical assets to Afghanistan, McCafferty was able to operate on the child Nov. 12 and again Nov. 20, removing the cyst and leaving the girl in good condition.
“I was happy that I could bring specialized training to this region that did not previously exist and that with those skills I was able to provide an opportunity at a future life for both the child and her family that likely would not otherwise exist,” McCafferty said.
The doctor also said he felt fortunate to have the support of his command, colleagues and the intensive care unit staff at Craig Joint Theater Hospital.
(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)