It has been three days since the team officially relieved the in-place team of clinical responsibility. They are on their way home now to well-deserved reunions, homecomings, and leave.
August has been a slower month for casualties which most attributed to Ramadan. However, things seemed to have changed.
Our first casualty had had a gunshot wound to the jaw. He was still walking and relatively stable. Unfortunately we were not able to get him a MEDEVAC to higher level of care for several days due to weather. Then we treated an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier who suffered an IED blast to the face. His right eye had a penetrating wound and left eye globe was gone.
Yesterday there was another ANA soldier who was shot in the thigh. The round pierced his femoral artery and vein and fractured his femur. The tourniquet saved him in the field but when we loosened the tourniquet for surgical repair the bleeding started. He went through 30 units of blood plus plasma. The surgeons successfully placed a shunt between viable parts of the artery and sutured the bleeding veins. The orthopedist was able to place the leg in traction. The good news is that he survived to make the MEDEVAC to Kandahar. The bad news is that our efforts could not save his leg. He will face life as a high amputee in Afghanistan.
Any sense that there might be a period to settle in is gone. It was a sobering reality.