By Rebecca Elliot & Michael Hastings – Buzzfeed.com -
An explosive Congressional investigation revealed horrific new details this week about a U.S. funded military hospital in Afghanistan that kept patients in “Auschwitz-like” conditions.
The investigation also revealed that Lt. General William B. Caldwell, then commander of the $11.2 billion dollar a year Afghan training program, tried to block the probe and ordered a cover-up.
There are currently two ongoing investigations looking into the Dawood Military Hospital abuses: one centered around the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, the other concerned with Caldwell’s politically-motivated decision to delay investigations into the hospital until after the 2010 elections.
What follows is a very disturbing look inside the Dawood National Military Hospital. It was compiled with sworn eye-witness testimony from the three U.S. Army colonels who blew the whistle on the scandal, as well as never-before published photos obtained by BuzzFeed.
The photos and corresponding descriptions were collected by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.
The images are extremely graphic.
This patient was not treated for three days, given no wound checks, and his dressings were soiled. He was not given any analgesics prior to his surgery, and remained conscious. U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan at the time described his surgery taking place in “semi-sterile conditions.” This patient died 4 days later of paritonitis related sepsis without ever going back to operating room for care.
Gangrene set in, making this patient a candidate for amputation. The surgeon refused to “address the issue for days,” according to the investigation.
Investigators described this as “a sacral decubitus lesion with high grade tunneling.” There were no plans for surgery for this patient.
Video available at: http://buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com/video/2012/07/26/Dawood1-354×266.mp4.
All testimony was filmed at Tuesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing.
“External Fixation device. Bandages unattended for > 1 week, soiled, malodorous. Wound management team summoned on insistence of mentor(s). Maggots found among purulent draining fixation sites.”
Col. Fassl: “How could we be allowing this type of suffering to go on?”
“Necrotic non-viable extremity, no clear management plan for this extremity.”
“Purulent material actively draining from external fixation site(s): no clear plan for emperic or target Abx therapy, no cultures, no antibiotics.”
Video available at: http://buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com/video/2012/07/26/Dawood3-354×266.mp4.
“Drain insertion through and through sinus track. No pre-procedure pain Rx, non-sterile technique done in ‘wound care room.’”
“Beginning stage of pressure ulceration.”
Throughout the scandal and ensuing cover-up, the majority of the Dawood hospital staff has remained in place.
Caldwell is now running the U.S. Army North Command and is the senior commander of Texas’ Fort Sam Houston.
Of the above photos of patients, only 3 have been previously published. U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan have submitted approximately 70 photos of the abuses for investigation.