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
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.