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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Eight pregnant women from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, arrived in Germany early Friday so they could deliver their babies at military hospitals.

The women were moved because a recent medical assessment found that the Turkish hospital in Adana, where military spouses were getting obstetrics care, lacked adequate facilities, said Col. Michael Gardiner, commander of Incirlik’s 39th Air Base Wing.

“Doctors felt that it was probably best to send the mothers up to Germany to deliver until we get issues resolved at the local hospital, which we’re going to do,” Gardiner said Thursday.

The eight women arrived at 3 a.m. aboard a KC-135, accompanied by their husbands and other children, Gardiner said.

“It’s a tough time and we’re making sure we’re taking care of them as good as possible,” he said.

Seven of the women will deliver at Bitburg Hospital and the other at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The transfer of pregnant women may occur through the first of the year, Gardiner said.

While at Bitburg, the families will live at a temporary lodging facility within walking distance of the hospital and also nearby the commissary, base exchange and other services.

Several agencies on base were working furiously Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for the arrival, said Kelly Childs, Air Force Aid officer at the base family support center. The commissary, for example, donated food so their refrigerators would have some basics such as bread, milk and cereal.

“We’re going to welcome them into our community and make them part of it,” Childs said. “As long as they stay here, we’re excited to have them.”

Each family will have a sponsor to get members oriented to the area and help them get to appointments as needed. Childs said the aid society is giving the families a grant, which will be used for cellular phone service.

In addition, the personnel office is working to ensure that the new arrivals get their passports.

The families landed at Ramstein and were driven to Bitburg. Future flights may come directly to Spangdahlem, said Lt. Col. Markham Brown, chief of the medical staff for the 52nd Medical Group.

The women, most of whom are in their last month of pregnancy, will be cared for at the hospital’s obstetrics unit and will likely stay a week or two after their child is delivered, Markham said.

The hospital delivers roughly 20 babies a month, he said.

Gardiner, the Incirlik commander, said an Air Force doctor from Landstuhl recently conducted the regularly scheduled assessment of the Adana hospital.

The hospital plans to correct the shortcomings, which include inadequately sized rooms and certain equipment that didn’t function correctly.

Many American women had relied on the hospital for their obstetrics care and had no problems at all, Gardiner said. No one was ever harmed there, and after the upgrades are done he expects women to return.

Troops still go to the hospital for certain other types of care they can’t find at the military clinic on base, he said.


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