By Paul Reavley
I’ve deployed numerous times during my career in the military, and on every deployment, I was faced with injured and sick children—the very first patient I ever treated in uniform was a Bosnian child in Kosovo. In fact, Save the Children’s War on Children report states that one in six children in the world live in, or near, a conflict zone and so are at daily risk of being killed or maimed. For those of us who happen to be military medics with a strong interest in paediatrics the report’s findings come as no surprise.
During my multiple tours to Afghanistan and Iraq I encountered the most critically injured children I have ever seen. There were multiple cases of high energy blast and penetrating trauma injuries. I was responsible for their retrieval and emergency treatment. In addition, I took on an overview responsibility for all paediatric care at the Bastion medical facility in Afghanistan. I think I have already seen a lifetime’s worth of severe paediatric trauma. For me, and others, the question is what can we do to be better prepared to treat children like these in the future?
Read more at ICRC Humanitarian Law & Policy blog.