WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 63 of 203

dr. richard ehrlichman efforts, the US Army helicoptered in the surgical equipment we needed from Bagram Air Force Base to Camp Phoenix," Ehrlichman explains. "Our Afghan interpreter was able to get through the closed roads to bring Mohammed into the camp. We turned our battalion aid station into a hospital, and operated on Mohammed there. This involved anesthesia as well as the surgery, and the cooperation of the base defense forces, local interpreters, and the entire medical staff." imminent departure home to Massachusetts – offered to operate. "I was planning on taking care of Mohammed at the Afghan hospital," he says. "We even raised money to pay the OR fee." But in a perennially war-torn city, fate delivered a salvo of its own: on the day scheduled for Mohammed's surgery, the Koran burnings by US soldiers took place. "Our base was attacked by huge crowds throw- ing rocks and firing bullets," Ehrlichman recalls. "The neighborhood we were in was called Ud Kheil, kind of a tough area. All the roads went what's called 'black,' which meant you couldn't get out, because they could- n't guarantee security. I thought we weren't going to be able to perform the surgery. " Despite the surrounding violence, rather than see the boy go uncared for, the team forged ahead with an alternate plan, facilitated by a Connecticut state trooper who was the NCO in charge of the station. "Through Sergeant Russell's 62 The procedure was a success. Although simple, it will change Mohammed's life forever. Ehrlichman's photos – taken during the operation and after – attest to this, showing a delighted Mohammed, able to stretch out his fingers with full range for the first time in five years. The orphan received rock-star status at the base, with everyone from cooks to commanders turning out to greet him. "It was one of those few things in life where everything works out," Ehrlichman says, beaming at the memory of it. WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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