Friday, October 02, 2009

Once the military's busiest trauma hospital in Iraq, 'Baghdad ER' closes down

(See my buddy MaryAnn's story about the closing of the Ibn Sina hospital by the 10th Combat Support Hospital unit here.

Ibn Sina, named for a 9th century scholar, was opened in 1964 by four Iraqi doctors with the aim of becoming the country's premier medical facility. It was later taken over by Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1970s, and then made Saddam's private hospital. His eldest son, Odai, was hospitalized there after being wounded in a failed assassination attempt.

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the military transformed Ibn Sina into its trauma center in central Baghdad. Its reputation grew in HBO's "Baghdad ER," a 2006 Emmy Award-winning documentary.

The closure has brought many of the soldiers of the 10th Combat Support Hospital full circle. The unit was deployed at the hospital at the height of the war's carnage in 2005 and 2006. The 10th Mountain (CSH) returned earlier this year and learned they would be shutting it down.

My niece has been deployed with the 10th CSH since last year, and they just moved out recently, and will be coming home by this Christmas. Soldiers' Angels has been supporting this hospital for several years. At the height of the surge last year, we were sending them massive support, including 200 of our First Response Backpacks per month. Thankfully, as the war is winding down, that need has diminished in Iraq, at least.




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