MPA Dr. Kesler on KSTP about Afghan Clinic attack

Dr. Sarah Kesler is Assistant Professor in the UMN Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine department, and Critical Care Physician specializing in internal and critical care medicine.  She received her MD from the University of Minnesota and carried out her residency at the Hennepin County Medical Center.  She is an MPA student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and director of the University of Minnesota International Humanitarian Crisis Simulation, which includes a Humphrey School course as part of a multidisciplinary project offered by five academic units at the U of M.

Minn. Physicians Express Grief Over Airstrike on Afghanistan Clinic

Those in medical professions in Minnesota are expressing their shock and grief after a U.S. gunship fired on a medical clinic in Afghanistan on Saturday.

The clinic—in Kunduz, Afghanistan—was run by Doctors Without Borders. Afghans are currently battling to recapture the city from the Taliban. At last check, 12 staff members and 10 patients were killed; 37 additional individuals were injured.

Dr. Sarah Kesler, who works in the intensive care unit at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, said she couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she saw the footage. She said she knew right away her colleagues from Doctors Without Borders were among those killed.

"It's a horrible tragedy," she said.

Kesler said she is familiar with the dangers of working with Doctors Without Borders. Her first post with the organization was in Sudan.

"It was 2005 and I was there for six months,” she said. “I was in west Darfur in a small village.”

Kesler said her time was spent taking care of patients, educating and training others, and searching for epidemics.

From 2005-2011 Kesler took posts in Chad, Uganda, the Philippines and Kenya. She said she understood danger was a possibility.

"You really couldn't walk much more than a couple hundred yards,” she said. “You always had to have a radio with you. You had very strict curfews; you couldn't be out after dark. It's really a small existence kind of from your compound and back."

Despite the risk, Kessler said she believes the good her colleagues were doing will be felt for years.

"When you go overseas and you’re caring for people with very simple remedies that can set somebody on a course to have a productive and healthy life, it's immensely gratifying," she said.

Updated: 10/06/2015 6:52 PM
Created: 10/06/2015 4:32 PM
By: Todd Wilson
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