Friday, March 16, 2007

Cherry No More

My 1st Solo Flight!!
Here is my patient, wrapped and ready for transport. We call the package a 'hot pocket'. It is a body bag with a self-warming chemical blanket, foil blanket, and a couple wool blankets, all wrapped around the patient. We cut flaps/hole in different areas of the bag for access to the patient. It has been found that keeping the patient warm is essentail, especially when flying. This method is very effective in keeping them warm. On top of the patient is 2-3 oxygen tanks, a portable ventilator, propack vital signs machine, at least 2 IV's with bags of fluid, and lots and lots of tubing. All taped down to avoid getting caught on something when loading or unloading the helicopter. I'm wearing a cranial (helmet), and a flak vest with SAPI plates, I'm not sure what the official weight is, but I'm guessing around 40 pounds. The little blue thing on my vest is my light, that's all I have to see with in the back of the helo, very dark during the night flights.

Last night (Wednesday), was my first solo flight. A group of Iraqi’s were hit by a mortar round, my guy had a piece that hit his neck, cutting the right carotid artery. The vascular surgeon here took a piece of vein from his leg, patched it into his neck artery, then I flew him in a CH-60 Blackhawk to Baghdad. Seamless flight, no problems. Night flights are the best, safest. Started dealing with this patient around 1800, finished and crawling into bed after midnight. Day started around 0530. Up early the next morning for my duty day. Wednesday we had several groups of injured, largest was 13 patients, of which my guy was one of. Total of 4 flights that day, Lou Dyers (senior nurse) had 2, Kurt had one, and I had one. My flight was actually supposed to be Kurt Giometti’s, but I was antsy to get my first, so I took his 2nd. No problems, gave my patient plenty of medications to keep him unconscious, Baghdad is a large hospital. I think it had marble floors, the Army were pretty cool, I got three regulators for our oxygen tanks, those things are next to impossible to get, and they gave me some replacements we had left there a couple weeks ago. Hard to believe we have only been here 2 weeks, feels like 2 months. And yet each day passes so quickly. Maybe it’s because so much happens each day, it is hard to remember what started the day. I can only remember around 2 significant events a day, and we seem to hit that by noon.

The next day (Thursday), an Iraqi family was brought in, mom and ~9 year old son injured by a mortar round that was aimed by bad guys at a police station, hit their house instead. The boy had a deep cut to his nose, down through the turbinates, ~1 inch deep straight in. Lots of future plastic surgery to repair needed. Mom had a piece of shrapnel that went through the front of her right shoulder, small hole up front, big hole in back where it blew out. The surgeons (all 5 of them) worked together for ~2 hours to save a life. One of the more impressive things I’ve seen medically. The artery that supplies blood to the right arm was severed, they could not find the artery to tie it off, they 1st tried to get it by cutting out her right clavicle bone, then they ended up removing her right arm at the shoulder to get to the artery, and because of the initial damage to the artery, that arm was not going to survive with out the blood flow anyways. Life over limb. Successful. Her heart stopped multiple times, her chest was cracked open and internal defibrillations given. 16+ units of blood given, which is almost more than we carry here. The walking blood bank was activated, meaning we call out to the base for donations. They walk in, we get whole blood from them, then give it to the patient. ~15 military people coming to give blood to an Iraqi. Robin Cross was the flight nurse, we loaded the mom and kid into a helo, they took off, then returned 10 minutes later, sandstorm. Helo’s are unable to fly in sandstorms, we had to call in a C-130 plane, which can fly in most any weather. They left around midnight. A huge plane, just for our 2 patients. We try just as hard on every patient, American or Iraqi.

No comments: