Monday, September 6, 2010

Apparently, The Taliban Don't Celebrate Labor Day. Who Knew?

We were going to have holiday routine on Labor Day.  The team has been working hard.  Between trauma codes, OR cases, training, watching standing, restocking supplies, and cleaning, there is a lot to do.

Ted, our Officer-in-Charge, at first scheduled a work day but I requested that he consider giving the team some down time.  He agreed that this was a good idea.  Nevertheless, the group being admirably motivated, requested more training so he did schedule a quick drill for the afternoon.  The day was not to go as planned.  (And I turned from hero into goat as it became apparent the day was jinxed.)

At 0730 there was a call for a gunshot wound.  The patient was taken to OR where his leg had to be amputated.  We were about to wrap up when a call came in that there were multiple casualties inbound from an IED blast.  We took 10 patients over the next few hours.

Two had serious burn and blast injuries to the face.  Three others were taken to the OR to stabilize fractures (Dave was definitely cool today) and prevent dangerous swelling of the leg compartments.  Others had various degrees of shrapnel or projectile injuries.  Fortunately there were no KIAs.  The unit's colonel came by to give out Purple Hearts, which, while deserved, is not my idea of a great Labor Day gift.

Aric, our CRNA, gives report to the MEDEVAC flight nurse
Just as we got the last patient out by helo in late afternoon, word came of another gunshot wound.  A security contractor had accidently shot himself while cleaning his weapon.  Our collective response to this one was "@#$%."

Then there was a stab wound to the chest that turned out to not be much.  (Lots of knife stabbing and rock throwing around here.)

The base chow hall (or DFAC, i.e. dining facility, in army lingo) did serve up a Labor Day dinner with BBQ ribs and decorations.  The phone center had free phone calls home.  So the day wasn't a complete wash.  Besides the team did good work today.

Anyhow, I'm a little tired to write anything amusing so I'll wish you a good holiday.

Labor Day's final casualty


  1. I think that is why it is called "LABOR day" that most of us can relax in our comfortable air-conditioned homes, watching movies and drinking beer while a few heroes actually LABOR. Ah, well, you're my hero, brother! LABOR away!


  2. I was one of your ten patients that day. IED Arghandab Valley around 9am Bilateral fractures as well as multiple head lacerations. ALL KIA's were ANA I believe it was myself and one other American injured from the blast. I remember nothing but that horrible gravel road between the LZ and the trauma room JESUS!

  3. I was another one of the 10. Bilateral heel fractures, right tib/fib, and compartment syndrome. Thanks for linking to this Angel! And thanks to all of the docs that took care of us!
    -Scott Gossett