Trauma Care Where There Was None in Northern Afghanistan

A physiotherapist assists Suleiman*, a 15-year-old boy in the intensive care unit at the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, November 30, 2011. Suleiman underwent an emergency laparotomy the night before, after suffering a complete bowel obstruction due to a previous traumatic injury. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region. *Name has been changed
Michael Goldfarb
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Before the opening of the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgical hospital in Kunduz Province, northern Afghanistan, people in the region suffering from severe injuries had two options. They made the long and dangerous journey to Kabul or Pakistan, or they visited an expensive private clinic. As a result, few patients received the trauma care they needed.

In less than a year, the MSF trauma center, equipped with an emergency room, two operating theaters, and an intensive care unit, has seen more than 3,700 patients. The majority are victims of so-called “general trauma"—road traffic accidents, domestic violence, or civilian gunshot wounds.

All photos by Michael Goldfarb

*All patients’ names have been changed.

Dr. Juan Robinson, an orthopedic surgeon reviews a patient's x-ray with other medical staff during rounds in the in-patient ward at the MSF trauma center in Kunduz, in north-eastern Afghanistan, November 28, 2011. The hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region.
Michael Goldfarb
Munir*, 8, who broke his leg in a fall, plays in his hospital bed in the in-patient ward at the MSF trauma center in Kunduz, in north-eastern Afghanistan, November 28, 2011. The hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region. *Name has been changed
Michael Goldfarb
Ali*, 11, sits in his bed in the in-patient ward at the MSF trauma center in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, November 28, 2011. He discovered a discarded detonator in the street, which exploded, severely wounding is face and hands. His brother was blinded in the explosion. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region. *Name has been changed
Michael Goldfarb
The front gate at the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, is seen November 29, 2011. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region.
Michael Goldfarb
A guard stands outside the main gate of the MSF trauma center in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, November 29, 2011. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region.
Michael Goldfarb
MSF surgeon Dr. Martin John Jarmin III interacts with a patient during rounds in the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, November 29, 2011. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region.
Michael Goldfarb
Ahmed*, 31, lies in his hospital bed as a relative looks on, during rounds at the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, November 29, 2011. Ahmed, a farmer in Kunduz, suffered serious abdominal and leg injuries after setting off a hidden explosive while tending to his field. The MSF hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region. *Name has been changed
Michael Goldfarb
The grounds the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan are seen at dusk, November 29, 2011. The 55-bed MSF hospital, composed of fully-equipped container buildings and refurbished sections of a 50-year-old former hospital, opened in August, 2011 and provides urgent surgical care and follow-up treatment for people who have suffered injuries, some life-threatening. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region.
Michael Goldfarb
Abdallah*, 12, undergoes exercises in a specially-equipped physical therapy room at the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, November 29, 2011. Abdallah suffered a serious leg fracture in a car accident and receives regular physical therapy due his prolonged hospitalization. The hospital opened in August, 2011 and provides surgical care and physical therapy. It is the only trauma center of its kind in the region. *Name has been changed
Michael Goldfarb