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SATTACK, Iraq (October 13, 2008) – Navy Lt. Chris Owston, a Medical Officer with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, checks an Iraqi girl’s throat, Oct. 13. At the request of the local city council, Owston evaluated more than 40 children and was pleased to find no signs of malnourishment or poor health. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

Putting minds at ease

13 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Scott Schmidt

SATTACK, Iraq (October 13, 2008) – Navy Lt. Chris Owston, a 35-year-old medical officer from Bedford, Pa., with Task Force 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, conducted a medical assessment of a group of kindergarteners in Sattack, Iraq Oct. 13.

At the request of the local city council, Owston evaluated more than 40 children and said he was pleased to find no signs of malnourishment or poor health.

“We are concerned about the health of our children,” explained Mohammed Hussein, the area’s nurse and a member of the city council. “The doctor (Owston) gave the parents of these children peace of mind that their children are healthy.”  

The area does not currently have a medical doctor readily accessible to its citizens. The local government in the area continues to work to meet the medical needs of the community, but due to its sparse population, nothing more than a nurse and small clinic is available for the Iraqis. 

Iraqis must travel to Ramadi or Fallujah to receive care for serious ailments. Hussein said it is his and the city council’s goal to afford the access of medical care to all Iraqis in the area.

Having a medical professional is “vitally important to the community,” said Owston.

“The children are relatively healthy in the area,” Owston explained. “The community does everything they can to provide care for their children.”

Owston said he watched as children laughed and smiled during his assessment and a feeling of accomplishment overwhelmed him.

Owston visits families and schools every chance he gets and said he looks forward to visiting more children in the area to provide care as needed