Army nurse helps Afghanistan kids

ANGEL AT THE FRONT: Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse, Maia Pelgrom, has returned from the conflict in Afghanistan.
ANGEL AT THE FRONT: Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse, Maia Pelgrom, has returned from the conflict in Afghanistan.

A nurse in the Territorial Army has returned home from Afghanistan where she provided medical care to soldiers and sick or injured children.

Maia Pelgrom, a Practice Development Sister on the Paediatric unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Maia, a Major with the Manchester Field Hospital Territorial Army, was deployed as the Paediatric Lead Nurse in the busy trauma hospital in Camp Bastion.

Maia said: “Even though it is a military hospital, caring for all soldiers in the coalition force, we also looked after injured local nationals which included quite a number of seriously injured children.

“The hospital is extremely well equipped to deal with all sorts of major trauma, and the army even employed paediatric civilian nurses to ensure that the paediatric skills were at a premium.

“My job was to oversee the care the children received from the time of admission in the Emergency Department, through to their discharge home or transfer to an Afghan medical facility once their condition was stable.

“Many staff had very little experience in dealing with children, so it was my job to supervise the care. This was particularly evident in an incident when the Taliban shelled a village compound and we had many Afghan casualties which included nine children, all with serious injuries.

“We quickly converted our small overspill ward into a paediatric ward, looking after them and their families. This worked very well, and although it was extremely hard work at the time, it was lovely to see the children’s injuries improve and get discharged back to their communities.

“Working with the Afghan families was a pleasure, and the language issues were overcome with the help of some very good interpreters. It was usually the fathers or uncles of the children who stayed with them, and they always voiced their gratitude at the care they received.

“Looking back at my time there, I can say that it was a good experience although the situations were difficult at times.”

Maia recently received her Afghanistan Medal at the Homecoming Parade held on March 6th in Bury.

Major Pelgrom, a mother of one (Lee), is originally from Luton in Bedfordshire but came to Blackpool in 1988. She joined the army in 2002 and has been serving for eight years.

Maia was previously with the Royal Air Force for a couple of years. She is currently Officer Commanding G Squadron of 207 field Hospital which trains in Bury.

The TA is an integral part of the British Army, representing over a quarter of its total manpower.

207 (Manchester) Field Hospital has its HQ in Stretford and additional training locations in Ashton-under-Lyne, Stockport, Stretford and Blackburn. The unit is looking to recruit new members. For more information call 0161 232 4985 or email 207HOSP-RHQ-RECRUITING@mod.uk