Friday, July 9, 2010

RO-Medical to the Rescue

I mentioned in a previous post that we share the FOB, and the FST facilities, with the Romanian Army. They are a wonderful group of men and women and we have grown quite close with the Romanian Medical team who share our building. The team consists of two Romanian Family Practice Physicians, Dr Adrian and Dr Daniel, a dentist, Dr Chris and numerous medics – they go by first names as their last names are typically very difficult to pronounce with lots of consonants.

Earlier this week we had a minor (minor for us) mass casualty event after a bus crashed in Qalat city. We had very little notice, not surprising, and ended up receiving 5 seriously injured Afghan locals. The first two required intubation (placing a tube into their lungs so to assist breathing) which our CRNA’s managed expertly. Seriously, the Nurse Anesthetists we have, Shane Lawson and Robbie Ladd, are two of the best I have ever known. Their skill level is at or better than many stateside Anesthesiologists. They have managed some of the most difficult airways and made it look routine. We have had at least 5, maybe more, patients with unbelievable facial trauma and blood coming from every orifice on their face and Shane and Robbie step to the head of the bed and insert an endotracheal tube with ease. It’s pretty cool to watch. The other three patients had broken and dislocated bones and a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), but nothing really life-threatening. One of them had to be taken to the OR to fix his dislocated knee, which is why I mentioned the Romanian Medical team. Because of the seriousness of the first two patients we were a little short-staffed so the Romanian’s stepped up to help out and they ended up caring for the patient who required surgery. Even Doc Chris, the freakin’ dentist, was in the ICU helping with the two intubated patients. They will be leaving the FOB soon and asked for a group photo with us wearing the Navy FST -shirts we gave them. They will be missed.

From left; Dr Adrian, Lodin the Interpreter, Dr Daniel and Dr Chris (I have no idea what Lodin is trying to do with his fingers. Perhaps its an Afghan gang sign. Or he's a confused University of Texas fan). Check out their scrub caps. Is that NATO at its finest or what?

The Group Photo

The day prior to the bus crash we had a US soldier come to us with blunt trauma injuries from an IED blast. He arrived to the FST without a pulse and we were unable to save him. Another tough day.

The day before that we had a 9 year old boy brought to the FST after the donkey he was riding on (you only get stories like this in Afghanistan) walk over an IED. He was severely injured and required extensive surgery on all 4 extremities. We were able to save them all, but he lost the pulse in his right arm just prior to transfer. We found out he had to have that arm amputated the following day – very sad.

July has been a busy month for us thus far and I anticipate it will stay that way until Ramadan starts in early August. For those of you not aware, Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset and they offer more prayer to Allah. It is my hope that because of the fasting and the praying that they also stop the fighting and the bombing. I think it starts 11 August, just a few weeks before we are due to leave. It would be a nice going-away present.

My beautiful wife and I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary on 5 July and I posted a video I made for her on Facebook. I am also going to try to post it here just to see if I can do it. She will be going on vacation with her family tomorrow to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I wish I could be there with her. I miss you Judi.


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