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December 2nd, 2010

I am running quite a bit later than usual. For a while I was able to get in early in the morning, get this missive off to everyone and then spend the rest of the day figuring out what I should have said.

Now, since I wanted to include a Chanukka picture

Second Night

Second Night

I have to send it off in the evening. Oh, waahh, poor me.


Anyway, I spent a very interesting few hours attending the theater trauma conference. Initiated a number of years ago and now a weekly VTC run in each theater, the major trauma cases are reviewed with a eye to finding ways to improve care as well as provide feedback to the docs along the route.

The same conference = is run for the Iraq theater of operations. The Brits do the same thing – connecting the receiving hospital in Birmingham with Bastion. I am not sure that any of the other Allies are doing the same, but none of the rest are suffering our level of casualties.

Not all the casualties are reviewed, just the major ones. Major means that you have suffered enough trauma to lose a couple of limbs, or have major open head injury or a gunshot wound to your chest or…. you get the idea.

Trust me, I.E.Ds are extremely lethal. It is only the prompt and forward placement of a lot of medical know-how that is keeping any of the soldiers hit alive to get to the surgeons. Who, in turn, manage to save those who would have died just a few years ago. The level of surgical care in theater is phenomenal.

It also helps, when going over cases with just horrible injuries to hear one of the hospitals on the stateside end say – oh – he has gone home on convalescent leave. Or, even more rarely – he will be returning to duty.

It makes up for those each week who are going back with bilateral leg amputations. And those are some of the luckier ones. The cost to society is well beyond what most of us want to recognize. These are primarily young men – early 20s with a whole changed life ahead of them. Young men who have wives tell them – “I can’t do this’ while they are still on their backs in a hospital bed.

We are facing a lot.

When I lit those candles – I was thinking about religious freedom and perseverance in the face of some pretty challenging odds.

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  1. Allison
    December 2nd, 2010 at 22:08 | #1

    Thanks for this amazing post.

  2. Linda
    December 2nd, 2010 at 22:43 | #2

    thanks for sharing some of the “rest of the story”. When I lit the candles last night I took a moment to watch them burn down, extinguish, and let the puff of smoke drift away. Tonight I’ll reflect on the troops and the Jews around the world.

  3. Carmen
    December 2nd, 2010 at 22:50 | #3

    Thanks for the lovely photo!

    Perhaps because we are close to the decision makers (surely not because we are blue states), in this part of the country we hear and see and worry and are aware. In Denver, you wouldn’t know we were at war. Seriously. Seriously upsetting.

  4. Angeluna
    December 3rd, 2010 at 01:26 | #4

    Thank you for your always thoughtful updates. My heart breaks for these guys. What your medical teams are doing is amazing.

    Happy Chanukka to you, and bless you.

  5. Pat
    December 3rd, 2010 at 07:34 | #5

    Again, powerful missives. You would have liked (I think) the Brigadier General who gave the lecture here a few weeks ago. She said if you are ever in the neighborhood she’d be delighted to arrange a tour for you of what they are doing here for vets. All the issues you’ve mentioned, and of course, suicide. Heartbreaking.

    Your photo is very lovely, glowing, golden, warm.

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