Bringing new life to Iraq

Bringing new life to Iraq – The Final Word

Robert Knoll

Only a few days after arriving into the area of An Nasiriyah, Iraq, doctors and corpsmen of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (Special Operations Capable (SOC)) have brought new life to the people of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Shortly after sunrise, a displaced Iraqi family in need of assistance approached F Company Marines guarding the perimeter of the 15th MEU area. One of the family members, Jamila Katham, in her mid-20s, had been in labor for a long time and her baby was about to be delivered.

The Marines radioed from their post to their operations center and a military ambulance was sent to pick up the expecting mother. She was taken to the Battalion Aid Station (BAS) where a translator assisted communications between the doctors and Katham.

“This is good stuff. We brought life into this world,” said LT Brian Humble, a medical officer for Battalion Landing Team 2/1 and one of the doctors who delivered the baby. LT Sean Stroup, the 15th MEU surgeon also assisted with the birth. This was not Stroup’s first delivery, but his first outside of the United States.

Kathan gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 8 a.m., who she named Rogenia. The doctors estimated the baby’s weight at about 6 pounds. There were no complications with the delivery.

The baby was delivered about 15 minutes after arriving at the 15th MEU’s location, so Humble and Stroup said that they were not sure how long the mother had been in labor.

Katham was accompanied by a group of family members, including her great grandmother, Gammaraha, who helped communicate her great-granddaughter’s condition to the doctors. She told the doctors that it was her first baby. The entire family was grateful for the 15th MEU’s assistance, Stroup said.

After a short recovery period, Katham and her new baby girl were driven to the boundary of the MEU’s area where the rest of her family was waiting. She was given enough food, water and bandages for a few days, in addition to a warm blanket for the baby. The doctors said the baby was in very good condition and even began breast-feeding before leaving the BAS.

Katham and her family are from An Nasiriyah, but they were displaced because of the conflict in the region. They were living in a tent compound approximately 20 miles south of the city.

Knoll is assigned to the 15th MEU(SOC).

COPYRIGHT 2003 U.S. Navy

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group