Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Unique Building in Baghdad

I have seen this building a couple times during the flights to Baghdad, the way it is built out on the water is pretty impressive.

1 Day, 2 Flights, 3 Patients

15th and 16th flights on Monday.
The first flight was a Marine that was shot in the face, but amazingly arrived fully alert and talking. He was intubated to protect his airway and I flew with him to Baghdad, no problems.
The second flight was with 2 Marines, both intubated. They were hit by an IED, one with major damage to one of his legs, the other with a neck injury. I flew with both of them to Al-Asad, no problems. VERY HOT up in the air, no matter how much water you drink, you just can't seem to keep up with all the sweating.
The picture is from the 1st flight, I am in the back of a CH-46. The grey/green strap around my chest is the gunner's belt, it is attached to a length of strap that is secured to the deck. That way I can get up and work with the patient without fear of falling out the back.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

News Flash - It's Hot in the Desert

News Article

Please follow the link (CLICK ME) to read about a detachment of 8 of our staff to set up and staff a Mobile Forward Resuscitative Surgical System (FRSS) with one of the Marine units sent out here as part of the surge. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they forgo the few creature comforts we have here at TQ (warm chow, better berthing, some sort of recreational activities) as they share a tent and eat MREs 3 meals a day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Few Things That I Miss..

(Aside from the obvious family and friends... In no particular order, and not all-inclusive)

  1. Cold water. The holding tanks for the shower water are next to the bathrooms, outside. The water is heated up enough by the sun that I have not had to touch the hot water spigot in a couple months. I like my showers hot, but the 'cold' water is so hot as to be barely tolerable.
  2. A bathroom closer than 100 yards from my can.
  3. A tan. Yes I am in the desert, but I am still pasty white. I've had better tans in Wisconsin.
  4. Temperatures below 90 degrees. We now comment on 'how cool it was last night - in the low 90's. Positively refreshing'

A few more serious things...

  1. The unconditional acceptance of my dog.
  2. Sending my oldest off to his 1st day of kindergarten.
  3. Feeling our unborn baby kick and move.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For those of you that know LT Lora Martin

She is working 90+ hour, 9 day workweeks.
She single handily saves 50 lives a day.
She has all the collaterals possible, and sits on a minimum of 32 meetings a week (4 separate clipboards required).

(she in no way twisted my arm to write this so that her co-workers at her parent command know that she is actually doing a whole lot of nothing here)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

28 weeks, and she's already a looker.

Your Typical Monday Night

Around 11pm we all received a call for 8 incoming Marines, wounds from a VBIED (vehicle borne IED - big). Turns out the bad guys attempted to drive a very large truck filled with explosives into their position, but the Marines were able to hold him off at a distance, where he detonated himself once he realized he couldn't get any closer. Even at a distance, the blast still took out the front of the building the Marines were in, and several of the Marines were thrown around (one said he was thrown 30 feet back). No serious injuries (relatively speaking), mainly shrapnel and ruling out concussions. No nurse flights needed for these guys.
Earlier that day, an 18 month old boy was brought in after a 10 foot fall. Baby was fine overall, but we needed to have a CT scan done to verify that there was no head injury. When I was sent out here, it didn't really occur to me that I would be doing full spinal immobilization on an 18 month old, using blankets, tape, and a CPR board. It worked out remarkably well, he was sent to a higher level facility where the CT scan could be done. I found it remarkable that while we were waiting for the helicopter, the father was very interested in verifying that we were sending him to a military hospital, and not a civilian hospital (he was going to one of our military level 3's). He said (through a translator) that if we sent him to a civilian hospital in the wrong area of the country, "they will kill me and chop the head off my son". He is referring to the Sunni - Shiite issues out here. How accurate he was I can not attest to, but I can tell you that he believed it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Getting Gas

Usually after dropping a patient off at a level 3 hospital, we will stop for gas prior to returning. This is a picture of 3 different helos, all getting gas. (Enlarge photo for better view). From left to right, An Army Kiowa, Marine Corps Super Cobra (our escort), and an Army Blackhawk. Not pictured - the CH-46 that I was on for this flight.

Follow Up

The 7 year old from last Friday made a return trip through our facility on his way home. Despite a rather impressive head injury initially, he has recovered amazingly. To the point he is likely home already. He was very emotionally fragile, I'd also be a little upset if at one point I'm walking around my home neighborhood, than the next I know I'm surrounded by people speaking a different language. He was able to give his name and other info, so it should not have been to hard for him to get home home with the help of the Marine unit that brought him in.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Aliens in Iraq - Crop Circles

These pictures are a fairly common site while flying over the countryside. I'm guessing that there is a water source in the middle of the circle, and it is easier to water the plants this way. Doesn't stop it from being humorous seeing crop circles everywhere...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

14th Flight

Had my 14th flight yesterday. An Iraqi 7 year old boy, with a single, small, hole in his head from a bad guy mortar round (all injury information is from what I could cobble together, I cannot attest to the veracity of what happened prior to his arrival to our facility). According to the person that brought him in, one of the mortar rounds that were directed at the local Marines hit an apartment complex instead. This boy, name unknown, was delivered to those Marines that were targeted, and then brought to us. No name, no family, no history other than guesswork. His age is a guess, which something as simple as guessing the age of these children has proven to be a problem for us, as the children here are smaller than American children of the same age we are used to seeing. A 5 year old child here will often be identified by many of us as a 3 year old, a 9 year old as a 6 year old, etc. I'd imagine that nutrition has a lot to do with this.
The doctors and staff here attempted to stabilize the boy, but there is only so much we can do for these severe head injuries at this facility, he needed specialty care. I flew with him to one of our Level 3 hospitals, and this was one of my busiest flights yet. Didn't even have a chance to look out a window. Vital signs reflected the increasing pressure inside this kids head (not good), and I learned some things about head injuries that I had not heard about previously. The child was intubated, and I ensured he remained unconscious and paralyzed with medications. I'd like to say I delivered him to the facility in the same shape he left TQ in, but I honestly am not sure. His vitals were similar, but time under pressure is more damage to these brains, pressure that can not be relieved until specialty care.
Your prayers are appreciated for this boy.

My postings have been coming a little slower recently, I have really been busy as of late. I will continue to post when something interesting happens, and will also tell you all what has been happening recently that has been filling my time. It is not all patient care related, before I post, I'm looking for the right pictures to go with them.