Friday, August 12, 2011

Brothers and Sisters

It’s 11 P.M. and I’m lying in bed half asleep when my commander busts through my door and informs me 4 U.S. soldiers involved in an IED blast were being medevac to our FST; ETA 20 minutes.  I wake myself up, throw my scrubs on and bolt out the door to the FST. We prepare for the worst as no other information is available.  15 minutes later the pounding beat of a Blackhawk can be heard in the distance so Charlie Co. heads out to meet the bird and transfer the soldiers to us.  We waited impatiently with our adrenaline pumping; 5 minutes seemed like 30.  The atmosphere is always more tense when U.S. soldiers are involved.  There’s an intangible bond with them you real can’t explain. Each soldier becomes your temporary brother or sister rather than a fellow soldier; we all bleed red, white, and blue over here. The transfer ambulance pulls up and the doors swing open; two soldiers are on gurneys and the others ambulatory.  This team was doing route clearance in our local area when the incident occurred. Initial estimates put the IED at 150lbs of explosives based on the damage to their armored MRAP.  It appears insurgent activity is heating up all around Jalalabad (JBAD); where we are located. There have been two IED’s locally in 3 days and multiple others that were found by our forces and destroyed. I should also add that another suicide bomber made a run at our FOB last night, but fortunately he was “neutralized” by our forces prior to inflicting harm and or damage.  The soldiers were rushed into the FST and the trauma triage process started.  The two ambulatory soldiers were just beat up but stable and sustained mild injuries.  Our gurney bound patients were stable but had probable spine injuries which will have to be evaluated at Baghram.  There were no acute orthopedics surgical issues in any of the soldiers.  After our resuscitation was complete the “Steal Angel” arrived to transfer two of the patients and the other two were sent to our recovery area for evaluation by our primary care physicians and traumatic brain injury team (TBI). I finally made it back to bed by 1:30A.M. and crashed into my awaiting dreams. 
My evil alarm clock rang at 7:00AM waking me to a new day.  I stepped down from my bunk slightly tired but ready for another day.  As such I kicked the tunes on, dressed, grabbed a red bull, and headed out the door for morning report. Today we recapped the trauma our team has seen so far and ways we can improve. Afterwards I helped out with two orthopedic consults at Charlie Company, then relaxed and waited for trauma. 
I was sitting at the desk in my shack when one of the Special Forces medics came in to talk to me. He was interested in getting a copy of the lecture I gave Wednesday so he could use it to help train other SF medics in the future.  I copied it for him without any reservation.  I said “Go saves some lives” and handed it to him.  Like I said in the past the relationship between the surgeons and SF community is important.  When these commandos are preparing for or executing a mission there is confidence in knowing us surgeons have “game faces” on ready to save and rebuild them; we pride ourselves on it. I can’t even begin to tell you the respect I have for this community. If the mission sounds impossible be prepared to be amazed. The current trend of this war is more toward small special operation missions so the chance of us dancing in the operating room with them is increasing; we’re always ready for heroes.
Night is rapidly approaching, sleep well friends.

P.S. Kids give your mother a big kiss for me.


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