Sunday, May 24, 2009


Today we discharged the patient with the heart injury. It’s amazing what the body is able to go through and recover from. He is doing very well. I took this picture with him this morning (picture # 1).

He was a friendly guy who would smile and wave to us on the ward. I couldn’t get him to smile for the camera. I’m not sure why he has such a horrifying look on his face. It turns out that he is the sole bread winner for his family. I’m glad that we were able to help him. My replacement arrived here yesterday. I will be leaving Afghanistan this week. The fact that as I get older time seems to accelerate continues to amaze me. Although over 4 months has passed since I left the United States, it has come and gone in a blink of an eye. I really believe that this has been a wonderful experience for me, both personally and professionally. Although being away from my family has been difficult, I feel closer to them now than I did before. They have been so strong and have flown through this like champs. I look forward to seeing them shortly.

I will miss the people I have met over here. I have worked with people from all of the services from all over the United States. I can truly say that they are a wonderful group of individuals that are sacrificing much in the service of their country. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. In this blog I have included pictures of many, but not all, of them. I’ve enjoyed their hard work and support in the trauma bay, their countless hours within the operating room, and their care of our patients in the ICU and ward. I commend them in the highest and would gladly have them take care of me if I were injured. I’m also grateful for the time we have spent together eating hundreds of meals, watching hundreds of movies, and also playing hundreds of games of Call of Duty. Thank you for all you have done. You as well as your family should be proud of your service. Keep up the good work. I will pray every day that God will watch over and protect you. Take care.

This is B, one of the army special forces guys out of Ohio.

This is a picture Dr. D and I took earlier with H, one of the “dustoff” flight medics.

This picture is of DP, a flight medic, and myself the day before I left.

This is a mix of nurses from the ward as well as the OR: F, R, M, L.

M is a CRNA. He is actually from Provo, UT. Funny enough, he deployed earlier to Iraq with one of my surgery attendings, John Sorenson, from the University of Utah. Small world.

L is a scrub tech from Florida and K is a scrub tech from Las Vegas. They did a great job.

W, me, B, and G in front of a Blackhawk.

Dr. R is an orthopedic surgeon in Maryland. She has also completed her deployment and will be leaving. Dr. G is an anesthesiologist who lives in England. He has just over a month to go.

This picture is of the surgeons and OR staff. We’ve worked together almost everyday for the last 4 months.

This picture is of the entire crew that works in the hospital. Most will complete their deployment in July.


  1. congrats on your completion of the deployment. you'll be home in time for our Sr. roast June 18th.

  2. Thank you so much for recording your time and taking pics of everyone. I'm a friend of B and it was nice to be able to see what life is like over there. Safe Travels Home!!!

  3. Dear Doc Steve-
    You're a wonderful writer, a good man and we look forward to your safe return.

    I'll read this post to Grandpa Max this afternoon and he'll enjoy it I know.

    If you're looking for some interesting reading -- as you usually are, may I recommend "The Accidental Guerilla" by David Kilcullen - he's the Aussie anthropologist who helped design and write the "surge" strategy in Iraq, working for Gen. David Petraeus -- and he has a coherent and to my mind, realistic grip on the way forward and what it will take.

    As for Toby Keith -- Brooke is an EXPERT on his music and is sending along a "greatest hits."

    Love and travel safe...


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