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Princeton Baptist Medical Center nurse returned from Afghanistan

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A NICU nurse at Princeton Baptist Medical Center is back in Alabama.

A reservist with the U-S Air Force, Ketelyn Camacho Yao, left in March for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Yao returned form the tour in September and she says it left her emotionally shaken and drained, but it inspired her.

It was a scary time as U.S. forces were leaving, but she did take care of and treat a little baby during all the chaos.

The picture made national news across the world of a little baby girl being lifted over a wall into the U.S. compound. The baby was treated, nursed back to health, and eventually reunited with her parents.

The experience in Afghanistan moved the Princeton NICU nurse. She presented the hospital with a shadow box with the flag that flew over the medical hospital in Afghanistan and pictures of her and the baby girl. Yao also treated other little girls there, who would later hug her in gratitude.

She didn’t treat any children in Afghanistan until the evacuation happened.

The threat of danger was real, and she was impacted by it, but she did her job. Something which she believed will make her a better nurse.

“I hope to take the stuff they did over there and bring back what we know. People are important and as nurses we stand in that gateway for people who can’t and don’t have a voice,” Yao said.

Yao said she believed that baby girl and her parents did get out of Afghanistan but she doesn’t know where. Yao is still serving at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery where she is getting help coping with her experience in Afghanistan. She hoped to be back in the job at Princeton in November.

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