It’s hard to believe another week has gone by. Gratefully, the weeks seem to be passing rather quickly. This base is equipped with both a “large” and “small” arms range. They are in constant use by different units for training purposes. On one Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the “small” arms range for target practice. Picture # 1 myself with 3 other Air Force hospital staff all dressed up to go. The range is a very controlled placed with safety at a priority. All of us had the opportunity to fire the M16 (picture #2). Once I sighted in the scope, I was a rather deadly shot, hitting the kill zone at 300 meters. I guess if the surgeon thing doesn’t work out, I could become a sniper! Picture # 3 is the obligatory “tough guy” photo opportunity. I don’t think it’s really all that frightening.
(This picture scares me!)
The week was filled with the same activities that had been previously described. Each morning started with team rounds (picture # 4), where the condition and plan for every patient is discussed. We did have several elective cases planned this week, including the removal of a spleen from a small child with Beta-Thal
assemia (picture # 5). We also dealt with traumatic injuries that can come at any hour. Early one morning at 0230 the loud speakers throughout the base announced the arrival of an injured patient. We ran to the hospital to find an American soldier who had been shot in the leg. His injuries were primarily musculoskeletal, and required a trip to the OR to washout his wounds and stabilize the fracture. Within several hours he was on a helicopter to Bagram and subsequently transferred stateside. This early morning call was just the beginning as members of the Khost Police Force were involved in an IED blast. Several were killed at the scene and we only received two injured, one of which was critical. We spent the next several
hours attempting to save the police officers life (picture # 6), unfortunately, his injuries were too severe and he passed away.
The Afghan soldiers do not have the same type of protection as the Americans. For example, they don’t have protective body armor covering their chest and abdomen. They also drive around in the back of pick-up trucks, not in heavily reinforced vehicles. Therefore, when involved in an IED blast, they can sustain extremely severe injuries as was the case in our patient. The rest of the week was rather uneventful; however, there is a buzz in the air that things will really start to get busy. I leave you with a picture of the exercise facility in the early evening with a rising full moon (picture # 7). Take care.
(Moon over Salerno)