Contractor Conundrum

The most terrifying thing possible for a young physician without any considerable post graduate training is to be alone in the middle of Africa with an overweight, hypertensive, diabetic, middle aged male that starts complaining of the tell-tale crushing substernal chest pain. Oh yeah, and without any real cardiac drugs. Spend enough time in one place and the worst case scenario will eventually happen, and it eventually happened to me.  Read more

First time’s a charm

event date: Nov 2011

The day, or I should say night started like any other night in the plywood palace that was our clinic in Afghanistan. Constituted eggs for breakfast, followed by sick call, or as it should have been known, ambien call. Followed again by constituted eggs for lunch. Somewhere in the monotony the phone rang, and the night got more interesting. A CASEVAC in the SOF world seems to typically be initiated by some guy at a desk that we don’t know, calling some guy at a desk that we do know about some guy in the field that got shot that nobody knows. This was that kind of phone call. The medical planner asked us if we could be ready to go with all of our gear in 15min to respond to a casualty at an out station. Little information was given, he didn’t really know that much just that it was a solider with a gun shot wound to the head that was critical, but stabilized. There would be a plane ready to take off in about 20min. Read more

Too Close For Comfort

One of the ultimate hypocrisies I’ve noticed in the military is the obsession with preaching safety when at home. Driving 15mph on base, wearing a reflective belt in inclement weather, not running with earbuds in, the list goes on. On the surface you might think, this is great, they really care about keeping people safe and mitigating our risk, and would never put us in harms way. Then you get to a combat zone and you have this realization that there is not a reflective belt in the world that will protect you from an incoming mortar, a stray bullet, or some crazy ass Afghan solider that decides one day to point his rifle at the wrong team. If they had the same obsession with safety downrange that they do at home maybe they wouldn’t make me live in a plywood box with no reinforcement, but I’m starting to think that is about as likely as them issuing me a giant metallic hamster ball that I can roll around in fully protected from all forms of flying metal objects. Read more