Cat is saving lives in Afghan hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:06 22 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:25 17 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH woman is among medics saving wounded soldiers at a newly-opened field hospital in southern Afghanistan.

A SIDMOUTH woman is among medics saving wounded soldiers at a newly-opened field hospital in southern Afghanistan.

Serving with 243 The Wessex Field Hospital, Corporal Catherine 'Cat' Lee, a radiographer, has been in the Territorial Army for two years.

She went to Afghanistan in January and swapped x-raying broken bones from car accidents for gunshot wounds and mine-blasts.

Her new hospital at Camp Bastion was officially opened by Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth at Christmas.

It's a long way from the Temple Street home of parents Adrian and Molly Lee.

Miss Lee, 24, a former King's School pupil, moved to the new facility from an old tented field hospital.

The new air-conditioned hospital, which holds 37 patients, has a two-table operating theatre, two general nursing wards, a radiography department and Intensive Treatment Unit for six among its facilities.

Miss Lee said: "One of the most effective pieces of equipment are the two Dragon x-ray scanners, which are rarely available in the NHS at home.

"We can take the machine to the patient. With the trauma injuries we often experience on the battlefield, being able to scan quickly can save seconds and ultimately, lives."

She has had to deal with a range of injuries, from minor breaks to complex multiple-injuries from blast wounds.

Her experiences in the field will be put to good use when she returns to work at Yeovil District Hospital before transferring back to Exeter.

She said: "Back in the UK I am relatively junior in my department, dealing with day-to-day x-rays and CT scans. Here I deal with the sort of injuries I would never see, in challenging conditions where people's lives are at stake."

Despite her exciting experiences, Miss Lee can't wait to see her parents in April.

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