Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mark R. C. Caguioa dies at Bethesda 'of wounds suffered on May 4 in Baghdad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device'

WASHINGTON D.C. — Corporal Mark Ryan Climaco Caguioa, 21, died Thursday, May 24, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland., after receiving a wrong blood transfusion in Iraq while being treated for severe wounds he suffered from an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad on May 4.

Nate Ramirez, a medical worker at the Bethesda center, said that, while being treated in Iraq, Caguioa had received six units of type O+ blood. He was a B+.

Caguioa’s grandfather, Arthur Climaco, and mother, Maria Lourdes Climaco, kept watch over him at the hospital. (Caguioa will be remembered at Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place of American heroes, with a marker bearing his name but his remains will be buried at the Presidio in San Francisco, a soldier’s cemetery steeped in history. He was born to Filipino immigrants. Caguioa would have turned 22 on June 1. He died on the eve of the American Memorial Day.)

People familiar with the Filipino American’s case expressed concern that military medical personnel are becoming more prone to mistakes because of the strain of dealing with mounting casualties in Iraq.

They also expressed worry that this situation – along with the botched transfusion – could be covered up. Their concerns follow several widely publicized cases of government misinformation regarding soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, notably the cases of Cpl. Pat Tillman and Pvt. Jessica Lynch.

“They’re getting sloppy," one medical worker said. “They’re getting tired." He added that “the whole system" is under strain because there are “so many casualties"...

Caguioa’s death came a day before President George W. Bush visited the National Naval Medical Center to pay respects to wounded soldiers ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, a time when the nation honors the contributions of America’s men and women in Combat.

His family decided to end life-support when his organs failed and the damage from the bad blood transfusion could not be reversed. One source familiar with the case said Caguioa might have been able to survive his wounds if not for the botched procedure.

Cpl. Caguioa hailed from Stockton, California. He graduated from Bear Creek High School in 2002 and joined the U.S. Army in 2005 while at San Joaquin Delta College. Serving with the Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, Caguioa was deployed in October 2006 for a 14-month tour. He was the eldest of four siblings.

From GMA News