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Iraqi doctors say they took risks to care for Lynch

Hospital staff gave her food, medicine, news, they say

From John Vause

U.S. troops attend to Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch after her rescue.

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NASIRIYA, Iraq (CNN) -- Doctors and nurses at Nasiriya's main hospital say they defied senior Iraqi military leaders and Baath Party officials to care for a wounded American soldier who was held prisoner there for more than a week.

Ahmed Muhsin, a resident doctor at the hospital, said he and other medical workers smuggled food and news of advancing coalition forces to Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was under constant guard while being treated for two broken legs, a broken arm and a fractured back.

There was no immediate way to independently confirm the doctors' claims.

Saad Abd Alrazaq, a hospital administrator, said Lynch was in shock when she arrived at the hospital. He said that she was given plasma and two transfusions, and that he gave her clothes from his wife's closet because she was covered by little more than a sheet.

"She had no family in Iraq, and we felt we were her family," Alrazaq said. "We would visit her often, sometimes with my children."

Lynch and a number of other soldiers from the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, along with several from other units, were listed as missing in action after Iraqi forces ambushed their convoy March 23 near Nasiriya. The 19-year-old native of Palestine, West Virginia, a supply clerk with the 507th, was rescued April 1 in a commando raid on the hospital.

Lynch's rescuers also discovered the bodies of nine other missing soldiers.

Muhsin said Lynch's guards beat her and tried to stop doctors from checking on her more than twice a day, but that he and others on the staff would give her biscuits, oranges, milk and medicine from their own limited supplies.

"She suffered from [the soldiers]," he said. "Largely she suffered from them."

The hospital staff said they thought it was their duty as Muslims to give Lynch the best possible treatment. Islam, they said, teaches that prisoners of war should be treated well.

The staff also appeared to have been taking a quiet stand against Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Always I spoke with her and told her that [the] American military is close to Nasiriya and will arrive soon," Alrazaq said.

Eight days after Lynch was brought to the hospital, that prediction came true.

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