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June 21, 2011

Combat Hospital like a modern M*A*S*H

June 20th, 2011 - Chris Lackner, Postmedia News,

TORONTO — At the centre of Kandahar’s military hospital compound stands a tall post adorned with wooden arrows pointing in the direction of “home” for the medical staff serving in Afghanistan: France, Paris, 5585 km; Australia, Canberra, 11,437 km. And, most important: Canada, Ottawa, 10,460.

Nearby blast walls and shipping containers surround the hospital ground, offering thinly veiled protection to the ever-present dangers of war, and a helicopter landing zone allows for rapid drop-off of the latest casualties. Modest barracks are built nearby, as well as an “old western”-style wooden boardwalk, housing small storefronts, which offers the doctors and nurses a small taste of home.

The catch? This isn’t really Kandahar at all, only a miniature replica. It’s the Canadian TV set of Combat Hospital, a new fictional series based on the all-too-real world of the Canadian-led NATO Role 3 Hospital in Kandahar Airfield. The series debuts Tuesday on Global, and is also airing on ABC. The series examines the daily lives of an often ill-equipped international army medical team as they treat allied and Afghan soldiers, civilians — and even enemy combatants.

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