Tonight, as we continue our series the "Wounds of War" about U.S. medical care in Iraq, we'll tell the amazing story of a 5-year-old Iraqi girl who came close to death and got a second chance at life due to the efforts of some very dedicated Americans. Two organizations played a big role in helping her -- the National Iraqi Assistance Center and the Shriners Hospitals. The Iraqi Assistance Center was set up and is run by the U.S. military to provide charity care to a few of the many in that nation who need it. For more than 85 years the Shriners have been providing care for needy children from around the world with orthopedic, burn or spinal cord problems. I urge anyone who wants to help to contact those organizations via their Web sites above.
Many will watch tonight's story and ask why the girl could not be transferred to an Iraqi hospital. Simply put, the Iraqi medical system is in shambles. In most places there is no such thing as rehabilitation, so in the overcrowded and understaffed hospitals it is, as one American doctor put it to me, "survival of the fittest." Many Iraqi doctors, because of sectarian killings and kidnappings or threats of them, have fled the country. U.S. efforts to help set up a functioning health care system have been plagued by corruption and mismanagement. In fact, earlier this month Deputy Health Minister Hakim al- Zamili was arrested and charged with funneling millions of dollars given for health care to insurgents. So as we share this one girl's story tonight, I hope we remember the thousands of children injured in this war who get no second chance.