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Excerpt: Lynch fought to save leg from amputation

Iraqi doctor casts doubt on rape claim

Jessica Lynch
Jessica Lynch

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Jessica Lynch
Rick Bragg

(CNN) -- Jessica Lynch fought having her left leg amputated by screaming and turning her head as an Iraqi nurse tried to cover her face with a mask in the operating room of Saddam General Hospital, according to excerpts from a book about her wartime ordeal.

The revelation comes from "I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," written by former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg, excerpted in the November 17 issue of Time. The excerpts detailed the battle that ended with the capture of the unconscious Lynch and her nine days as a prisoner of war.

The excerpt from Lynch's biography says she was confused when an orderly wheeled her into an operating room because she had thought surgeons had done all they could to repair her 10 broken bones. A doctor then told her they were going to amputate her leg.

The excerpt described how Lynch screamed "No! Don't!" and then turned her head from side to side to keep a nurse from clamping the mask over her nose and mouth.

Finally, the excerpt said, a doctor ordered the nurse to stop and the mask was removed. She was then taken back to her room.

Lynch speculated the doctors backed away from amputating her leg out of pity. The book said she heard later that the doctors were ordered to cut off her leg to hasten her transfer to Baghdad, possibly for the production of a propaganda video. Her shattered leg would have made it difficult for Iraqi soldiers to take her by ambulance, the book suggested.

Lynch still has not regained feeling in her left foot, but she is receiving daily therapy on the leg and can walk with the aid of a crutch.

Doctor disputes allegations

The book also says Lynch was raped, but a doctor who cared for her during her captivity denies that she was sexually assaulted in the hours after her capture.

Dr. Mahdi Khafazji, who cared for Lynch while she was at the hospital in Nasiriya, said there was no evidence of sexual assault when she arrived there after being transferred from a military hospital.

Furad Mohsen, a nurse at the hospital, denied that the Army private first class could have been raped while at the hospital.

"No one raped her, or assaulted her," the nurse said. "We were with her. No one abandoned her ... This allegation is totally wrong."

Lynch said she has no memory of what happened from the time she fell unconscious after her Humvee crashed until three hours later, when she regained consciousness in the military hospital.

The book cites a U.S. Army medical report that shows Lynch was sexually assaulted, and Time quoted an Army doctor at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, as saying there was evidence of sexual assault.

Controversy not new

Lynch's story was made into a movie broadcast Sunday on NBC. However, producer Dan Paulson was unable to secure rights to "I Am A Soldier, Too". "Saving Jessica Lynch" was based on "Because Each Life Is Precious," a book by Mohammed al-Rehaief, an Iraqi man who claims to have helped the U.S. military find and rescue her.

In her authorized biography, Lynch reportedly casts doubt on al-Rehaief's claims, saying she does not remember having seen him at the hospital.

Lynch has also said she believes the U.S. military may have exaggerated the perils involved in her nighttime rescue from the Nasiriya hospital by U.S. commandos.

Controversy is not new to Lynch's story. Last month, the parents of Spc. Shoshana Johnson, who was captured March 23 near Nasiriya along with Lynch and three other members of the Army's 507th Maintenance Company, told The Washington Post that the military is not treating their daughter fairly.

The newspaper article said Johnson's parents were accusing the Army of a double standard, insensitivity and racism, and had enlisted the help of activist Jesse Jackson to represent their case in the media. Johnson is black and Lynch is white.

Jackson told CNN that the family was upset because Johnson was to get a 30 percent disability benefit upon her discharge from the Army, while the Post had reported that Lynch had received an 80 percent disability benefit.

The newspaper said the difference amounts to $600-$700 a month in payments. The Army denied having a double standard and said disability payments are based only on soldiers' medical reviews.

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