By Spc. Ben Hutto
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – A young woman from Khargulia, a village southeast of Baghdad, is recovering one step at a time. Soham lost both her legs in an insurgent rocket attack last July.
Scouts from Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment discovered Soham during a night time raid. Since then, 3-1st Cav. Regt. has helped the 20-year-old acquire prostheses for both her legs and arranged for her to receive surgery to correct bone damage caused by the rockets.
As Soham’s recovery progresses, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team continues to assist her rehabilitation.
“Patients like her typically need 12 to 15 months of therapy, so we are really pushing her,” said Capt. Sayed Ali, from Long Island, N.Y., the surgeon assigned to 3-1st Cav. Regt. “It has paid off because we have seen improvements in her walking and her confidence.”
Capt. Mike Garrison, from Fort Lee, Va., the physical therapist assigned to the 3rd BCT, and his assistant, Staff Sgt. Cecilia Garcia, from Lompoc, Calif., a medic with Company C, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, traveled from Forward Operating Base Hammer to Patrol Base Assassin to see how Soham’s therapy had progressed.
“The last time I saw her, her brother was carrying her everywhere,” Garcia said. “She has come a long way since then.”
Garrison and Garcia worked with Soham about three hours during the Jan. 15 visit and spoke with Ali and the medics assisting in her recovery to add to her rehabilitation.
“I’d say she was about 50 percent from where she needs to be in terms of recovery,” Garrison said. “Our main goals now are helping her become as functional and independent as possible.”
Soham is pleased with her progress and says she will continue to push herself in each session.
“The first couple of days of therapy were really hard because I was so sore,” she said through an interpreter. “I still have a few little problems, but it is not so bad now.”
Ali and Garrison’s goal is to ultimately help the young woman to walk on her own with the use of cane.
Six months ago, that seemed an impossible scenario as her brother carried her around.
“Her will and dedication are phenomenal and that is really the most important factor in her recovery,” Garrison said. “I think if she continues like this, she will be fine.”
The 3-1 Cav. Regt. and the 203rd BSB are assigned to the 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and have been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March, 2007.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Young Girl Continues Recovery One Step at a Time
By Spc. Ben Hutto