Iraqi Double Amputee Walks Out of Hospital
December 23, 2007
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 27, 2007) -- Standing upright and walking on her own is something 20-year-old Soham Hassan Ka-Naan, a young woman from Khargulia, never thought she would be able to do again.
After receiving her second prosthetic leg Dec. 20 at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Ms. Soham was able to walk upright with the assistance of crutches.
Soldiers of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division found Ms. Soham in July, after an insurgent rocket attack hit her house, amputating both of her legs. Since then, she has undergone multiple trips to the 28th CSH for surgery, prosthetic fittings and physical therapy.
The journey was a painful one according to Ms. Soham; however, her final fitting leaves her pain free with two prosthetic legs. One of the legs fills in the missing calf and foot on her left leg, and the other extends from the beginning of her right hip.
"I am very happy, I have no pain," she said through a translator. "I feel normal again."
Ms. Soham has high expectations for herself and said she expects to walk on her own, without crutches, in about five months. She said she hopes to be able to play soccer, run and dance too.
"I'm not going to give up," she said through a translator. "I gave up before and didn't think about walking for three years. I never imagined I would have two legs again."
According to Chris Cummings, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., prosthetic clinic adviser at the 28th CSH, Ms. Soham still has a long way to go with her new legs.
"Training and learning to use her legs is a huge energy expenditure for her that we take for granted," he said. "But she'll get it. She is strong and has good balance. I'll bet she does quite well."
Mr. Cummings, a civilian working overseas who primarily assists local patients, said he gets fulfillment from helping his patients accomplish feats they believed to have been lost after their accident.
"My hope is that every patient leaves here with something they can get a lot of use out of," he said.
"So this is where the magic happens," asked one Soldier about the room in which Cummings was shaping Soham's prosthetic leg.
"No, out there, when they start walking, that's where the magic happens," Mr. Cummings replied.
During her most recent visit to Mr. Cummings' clinic, Ms. Soham was escorted by Capt. Sayed Ali, from Long Island, N.Y., a physician in the 3-1 Cav. Regt.; Capt. Troy Thomas, from Litchfield, Minn., commander of Troop A, 3-1 Cav. Regt.; Staff Sgt. Michael Cook, noncommissioned officer in charge of the medic platoon in Troop A; and Ms. Soham's brother, Khalid Hassan Ka-Naan, who have all seen Soham through the entire process. Ms. Soham is thankful for all of Troop A, 3-1 Cav. Regt. Soldiers who took part in making her recovery possible.
As she sat on the end of a physical therapy table at the prosthetics clinic swinging one of her new legs, she told Capt. Thomas, "You are my brother, my father, and my uncle all in one."
The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.