Iraqi Doctors Dispute Lynch Rape Claim
Friday November 7, 2003 7:46 PM
By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI
Associated Press Writer
NASIRIYAH, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi doctors who treated former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch dismissed on Friday claims made in her biography that she was raped by her Iraqi captors.
Although Lynch said she has no memory of the sexual assault, medical records cited in ``I am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story'' indicate that she was raped and sodomized by her Iraqi captors, according to U.S. media who said they had advance copies.
The book - due to be released Tuesday - covers Lynch's experience between March 23 when her 507th Maintenance Company convoy was ambushed in Nasiriyah and April 1 when she was evacuated from a hospital by U.S. commandos. It was unclear if the book cites American or Iraqi records.
A family spokesman, Stephen Goodwin, confirmed the book alleges Lynch was raped.
Lynch suffered broken bones to her right arm, right leg and thighs and ankle and received a head injury when her Humvee utility vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed into another vehicle. Eleven soldiers were killed in the attack.
Dr. Mahdi Khafazji, an orthopedic surgeon at Nasiriyah's main hospital performed surgery on Lynch to repair a fractured femur and said he found no signs that she was raped or sodomized.
Khafazji, speaking at his private clinic in Nasiriyah, said he examined her extensively and would have detected signs of sexual assault. He said the examination turned up no trace of semen.
Dr. Khafazji said Lynch was taken first to the Military Hospital, a few hundred yards from the ambush site at around 8 a.m., about an hour after the attack. A few hours later, she was brought to his hospital.
``She was injured at about 7 in the morning,'' he said. ``What kind of animal would do it to a person suffering from multiple injuries?''
Dr. Jamal al-Saeidi, a brigadier general and head of the orthopedic department at the now disbanded Military Hospital, remembers seeing Jessica's motionless body on a bed in the crowded lobby of his hospital. He said a police van parked outside appeared to have brought her to the hospital.
``When she was brought there she was fighting for her life,'' said Dr. al-Saeidi at his private clinic. ``She was in shock because of the severity of her injury.''
He said Lynch was fully clothed with her field jacket buttoned up. ``Her clothes were not torn, buttons had not come off, her pants were zipped up,'' al-Saeidi said.
Al-Saeidi said he found no signs of rape during an examination although he acknowledged he was not looking for signs of sexual assault.
Lynch had lost more than half of her blood because of a 10- to 15-centimeter long wound on the left side of her head, as well as broken limbs that caused internal bleeding, al-Saeidi said.
``We had a few minutes, golden minutes to save her,'' he said. He rushed her to the operating room, away from the crowded lobby, and gave her intravenous fluid and blood and stitched her head wound.
Another U.S. soldier, Lori Piestewa, died half an hour after arriving at the hospital with Lynch of severe head injuries, doctors said.
Half an hour after surgery on Lynch, al-Saeidi assured her that she was in good hands.
He told her that she had to undergo surgery in a couple of days, but Lynch said: ``'No, I want to be in the States.'''
Soon afterward, military intelligence officers came to the hospital to take Lynch away. Dr. al-Saeidi told them if she did not get medical attention she would die. They took her to the Saddam Hospital, where she stayed nine days until Iraqi soldiers left the hospital.
Several hours later American commandos raided the hospital and evacuated her.
``Why are they saying such things?'' a bitter Dr. Khodheir al-Hazbar, the hospital's deputy director, said. ``We were good to her.''