The battle injuries in Iraq come less frequently, thankfully, than they used to come. There are still plenty of IEDs, snipers, and injuries from accidents (see Thursday's blog); more than any of us would like to see. Nonetheless, there is no denying that the bulk of the battle injuries come from Afghanistan, just as CNN reports. During Volcanogate 2010, we have been the epicenter for all patient traffic to the United States from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone going out has been through this facility, and now that the volcano dust is diminished, we are shipping out the backlog of folks from throughout the AOR to LRMC (Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center).
We had a medic who was shot in the head while tending to a soldier who sustained a minor injury. When he arrived, he looked as though his brain would herniate, and he would die. He had a revision craniectomy, and his CT improved, while he showed complete normal function of both hands and feet, and normal speech. Another young man fell prey to an IED and lost both of his legs and most of his fingers. His inhalation injury, incurred from inhaling the burning of his own flesh and surroundings, bought him intubation, but he answered my questions appropriately, blinking and nodding his head, and giving a thumb up. These were the more severe, but we had dozens come through, most of them giving a thumb up, if they had one to give.
We have launched several missions with planes filled with patients bound for the states. All CCAT teams based in Germany were here to assist with evacuation, and we were able to move patients smoothly back to the States. Now with the shorter flight to Germany now back open again, the CCATTs have scaled back and the mission frequency has diminished. We are, however, still full of patients. Sick ones. I am anxious for the pending mission to get these boys home, or one step closer to it, and out of limbo, where resources are rationed, manpower is relatively fixed, and it is starting to get hot.