A Burnham-On-Sea paramedic has descibed how a charity he works for has helped a 12-year-old Afghan boy get life-changing treatment after he lost his leg in an explosion.
Professional paramedic Nich Woolf, right, is one of the team who runs Festival Medical Services (FMS), and collects funds to help people in need overseas.
FMS provides teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and health professionals to deliver medical services to festival fans at Glastonbury, Reading and other pop festivals every year.
Critical metal pins and screws – costing just £30 and paid for by FMS – made all the difference between young Zabi spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair or not.
Zabi lives in Northern Afghanistan and his accident with a mine happened when he followed his family’s goats into an unmarked minefield and stepped on an old Russian explosive.
His father and fellow villagers picked their way through the minefield to reach him and, after using a towel to drag him out, they then travelled with him for eight hours to the nearest hospital.
There, they were unable to treat such a severe injury. After an emergency blood transfusion from father to son, a taxi took them on to the larger regional hospital in Mazar i sharif which took a further 12 hours.
Fortunately, that was the hospital where FMS has previously donated equipment and supplied volunteer staff to teach the local staff resuscitation and surgery techniques.
Orthopaedic surgeon Rahimullah found Zabi’s severely injured right lower leg could not be repaired. In addition, his upper leg bone was broken in two places. He put a pin and screws into the upper leg and amputated the rest just above the knee.
It will soon have healed sufficiently for a prosthetic leg to be made for Zabi, pictured right, so he can learn to walk again and re-join his friends and school in his village.
FMS Trustee and professional paramedic Nich Woolf, pictured right, from Burnham, said: “I have had the privilege of working as a volunteer medical teacher at Mazar Hospital for several weeks at a time over the past three years.”
“It makes us all at FMS immensely proud that the skills we have helped to pass on, and the relatively inexpensive equipment we have helped to purchase, can be used to make such a dramatic difference to the lives of innocent Afghan people caught up in the conflict in their country. In Zabi’s case, the vital metal pieces needed to save his life cost only about £30.”
“Festival Medical Services will be at Glastonbury and Reading festivals again this summer and we hope to raise more donations from our grateful patients, so we can continue to deliver life-changing successes like this.”
In 2014/15 FMS donated £100,000, divided between several charities, including some closer to home, such as the Jessie May Trust, in Bristol, which cares for children with life-limiting conditions. The money which reaches Afghanistan is donated through the Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal, founded by the former ITN newscaster.