Today, the NYTimes At War blog profiles the hand over of the largest US military hospital in Iraq. Based in the Green Zone, Ibn Sina Hospital has provided medical care to US servicemen, civilians, and insurgents:
After visitors pass through body searches at a pair of security checkpoints outside the hospital, the interior of Ibn Sina (named for a Ninth Century physician), looks a lot like a civilian medical center in a mid-sized American town: There is a long central hallway, a small emergency room, a few operating rooms and a pharmacy with an electronic sign that reads, “Now Serving ….”
In its supply rooms, stocked among shelves lined with boxes of bandages, bottles of sterile water and J-tubes used for opening airways, are surgical kit bags containing instruments needed to perform various types of surgical procedures.
But soon enough, it becomes clear that this hospital is something else. There is a special arms room for storing weapons. Many of the kits on the shelf are marked “amputation” — an operation carried out with numbing regularity at Ibn Sina over the years.
Christopher R. Albon is a political science Ph.D. specializing in armed conflict, public health, human security, and health diplomacy.