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Live Ammo Removed From Soldier's Head

Mon, 04/12/2010 - 6:28am

Pauline Jelinek, AP

A U.S. military doctor removed a live round of ammunition from the head of an Afghan soldier in an unusual surgery. Doctors say a 14.5 millimeter unexploded round, which measures more than 2” long, was removed from the scalp of an Afghan National Army soldier at the Bagram Air Field hospital.

When the Afghan soldier, in his 20s, arrived at the base, doctors thought it was shrapnel or the spent end of some sort of round, said Lt. Col. Anthony Terreri, a radiologist deployed from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. But as he reviewed a CAT scan of the soldier, he realized it was a much bigger problem.

He immediately went to inform neurosurgeon Maj. John Bini. Bini had the operating room evacuated; the surrounding hallways were secured, and he and anesthesiologist, Maj. Jeffrey Rengel, put on body armor for the surgery. Bini and Rengel were joined in the operating room by a member of a bomb disposal team. After Bini removed the round from the patient's head, the bomb technicians took it away.

Bini said that while there have been similar cases of unexploded ordnance being removed from patients, but in the past 50 years of modern warfare, there have been fewer than 50 cases of this type. The patient is continuing to improve.

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