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NEWS | Sept. 2, 2021

Soldiers deliver baby during Afghanistan evacuation support in Kuwait

By Spc. Juan Carlos Izquierdo

U.S. Army Central Soldiers have embraced and adapted quickly in a variety of situations throughout Afghanistan evacuation efforts to ensure they provided the best care and support possible to Afghan evacuees. As prepared and agile as they have been, one opportunity to help caught them by surprise.

“As a long time practicing OB-GYN, I’ve delivered thousands of babies in my life,” said Lt. Col. Hans Jean-Baptiste, OB-GYN, 811th Hospital Center, 139th Medical Brigade. “This particular birth is the least expected in my career. I will never forget it.”

The team of Soldiers included an OB-GYN, the staff physician, a nurse anesthetist, a practical nursing specialist and health care specialists who came together and overcame several obstacles with the unexpected birth of the baby in the forward location.

“It is very challenging to deliver a baby at the TMC (Troop Medical Center),” said Jean-Baptiste. “We have limited resources and the TMC as a Role 2 (medical facility) was not built to provide maternity care. But we did everything we could and helped the mother achieve a safe delivery.”

Lt. Col. Robert Snuffer, staff physician, 811th Hospital Center, 139th Medical Brigade, said, “I have been doing this for 20 plus years and I have seen Soldiers put together amazing things on the fly.”

He said it was a big deal for him personally to be a part of this team of Soldiers and to watch each of them bring different skillsets to the table to help the mother and baby.

Snuffer said, “It's the best job in the world until it's not, then it's the worst. The [Afghan evacuees] were going through this stressful experience. We were praying we had a healthy mom and a healthy baby and thank God we had both.”

Jean-Baptiste agreed that it was an amazing and rewarding experience, and said, “It was a very exciting moment for the team. None of us were expecting to help a mother give birth to her first child and share the happiness of this family.”