Story by Cpl. Eugenio MontanezCOMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Afghanistan – In late afternoon July 9, the sun setting when alarming news reached the corpsman at the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion’s Basic Aid Station.
“A messenger came in and notified us that there were two [girls] that showed up at the south gate,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Coughlin, senior corpsman with the Police Mentoring Team, 1st LAR Bn, from Mesa, Ariz.
The corpsmen went to the south gate to help. They learned that the girls fell in the river and weren’t breathing.
“So, I ran up with another corpsman and started assessing the girls. The younger girl wasn’t responding,” said Coughlin, 22.
The corpsmen had to move quickly if the girls were to have any chance of surviving.
“We took the older one and cleared her airway and got some of the water out, but she still wouldn’t respond unless when administrated pain to keep her awake,” Coughlin said.
The corpsmen then purged the water from her lungs to stabilize her.
“At that point she was able to breath on her own,” Coughlin said.
The younger girl still wasn’t breathing. Twenty minutes had passed, but the corpsmen weren’t ready to quit. The sailors called in a medical evacuation helicopter to take them to a larger medical facility.
“I could tell she still had some fight in her. She wasn’t ready to give up, and I wasn’t willing to give up on her,” Coughlin said.
“It’s all about helping the patient and focusing on what I can do to the best of my capabilities to bring them back,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Palma, a corpsman with the PMT, 1st LAR Bn., from Dededo, Guam.
The corpsmen did everything in their power to save the girls.
“They both left the BAS alive and with hope they would survive this incident, but unfortunately only one made it back,” Coughlin said.
“I know that my corpsmen did well that day and I am confident that everything that could be done, was done.”
Although the corpsmen weren’t able to save both the girls, they remain hopeful that the family knows they did their best.
“I hope that when people see what we’re doing, they realize that we’re here for them,” Coughlin said. “We’re here to protect them from the insurgents and help is available to anyone that asks for it. We want to help them in any way that we can.”