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U.S. military doctor removes live ammo from Afghan soldier's head

WASHINGTON — A U.S. military doctor removed a live round of ammunition from the head of an Afghan soldier in an unusual and harrowing surgery.

Doctors say an unexploded 14.5mm round — more than 2 inches long — was removed from the scalp of an Afghan National Army soldier at the Bagram Air Field hospital last month.

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, according to an Air Force news release this week on the case.

He immediately went to inform the neurosurgeon, Maj. John Bini, also of Lackland. Bini had the operating room evacuated; the hallways were secured, and he and an 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. And after Bini removed the round from the patient's head, the bomb technicians took it away.

The patient, whom officials did not identify by name, is continuing to improve, the Air Force statement said.

U.S. military doctor removes live ammo from Afghan soldier's head 04/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 10, 2010 12:23am]

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