Aaron Buzzard
an ER Doctor’s time in Iraq

Week 4

Hello everyone again.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but WOW another
ridiculously busy week+.  I am late on my weekly
update because of some big events.  Be sure to look at
the photos, some gross ones and interesting ones.

Since my last email, I went on a UH-60/Blackhawk helo
medevac mission from Balad’s Combat Support Hospital
(CASH) to Baghdad’s main civilian hospital.  A Iraqi
national was injured and on a ventilator.  There was
some small arms fire which again was not very close.
The pilots say it happens about every other landing in
that area. After we landed, we transfered him to an
amoured ambulance and then convoyed to the hospital
which is off the airport.  Nerve racking just waiting
for the IEDs to off, but nothing happend.

A couple of days later, I was working in the ER with
my medic SGT Munoz when a suicide bomber ran into a
group of 8 soldiers on patrol outside our gate,
taliking to civilians, women and children and
detonated his vest.  The children where killed and a
women and the 8 soldiers where seriously wounded.
Because it happend so close, we only had about 3
minutes warning that the were inbound.  3 docs, 8
critical patients arriving all at once on 4
helicopters.  They rushed in put them in the trauma
bays and ran out.  My first patient had burns and
lacerations to his face, blast injuries to his right
shoulder and both legs.  He need blood and IV fluid to
bring his blood pressure up, he had lost a LOT of
blood.  We stabalized him and sent him to CT/xray.
The second soldier had several medium sized blast
wounds to his arms and legs and minor cuts to his
face, was stable but acting very violent and had to be
sedated.  It turns out that he had a brain injury
called a subdural hematoma.  He went to surgery to
have it drained.  He is doing fine.  The other
soldiers xrays/CT’s where negative, but he need
vascular surgery.  However 7 of the 8 guys needed
surgery right away and there were not enough people to
start the operations.  I volunteered to start the
operation till the vascular surgeon could get there.
The anesthia back-up doctor put him under while I
scrubbed in and began cleaning out the wounds and
temporarily clamping and tieing the vasular injuries.
The staff was very helpful since I can’t remember all
the instrument and tool names.

I pulled out several pieces of bone and meat that were
part of the suicide bomber.  (See the photos.)  Teeth,
bone and a finger joint.  Very disturbing.  When the
surgeon showed up we put the femoral vein and
saphenous veins back together and debrided the wounds.
I sewed up his face last and he went to the ICU.  The
next AM he went to germany and was awake before he
left and doing well.

Whew.

Last night I got in about midnight froma 2 day, 6 leg
mission on the UC-35 jet to Baghdad, Kuthar, United
Arab Emmaretes, Kuwait and back.  We stayed in Dubai,
UAE.  Very nice.  Beautiful hotels and good food.  We
were escorting 2 General Officers.  I got a coin from
a Brigadere General, which is cool.

So far Iraq is fascinating.  I am hoping to get to
meet some locals when it is not busy to get their
insights into our mission here and I will share it
with you.  As of right now, I am working in my clinic
all day, flying different missions and volunteering
with the ER and medevac, so I have been crazy busy.

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