A Medic Confronts The Open Wounds Of Afghanistan

A 20-pound jug of homemade explosives will take off one or both legs somewhere between the knee and hip, perhaps breaking the pelvis and shattering vertebrae as the shockwave travels up through the skeleton. After our first Marine was wounded this way—let’s call him Patient Zero—he was stabilized by his squad’s hospital corpsman and flown to the trauma center, a British base that abuts Camp Leatherneck, the hub for Marine operations in southwest Afghanistan.

At the time I was running a forward combat aid station as a general medical officer to a Marine Corps infantry battalion. Standard protocol is to gather the casualty’s disembodied limbs and tissue as best you can and place the material aboard the medevac helicopter with him so it can be destroyed in a dignified manner. But explosions have a way of defying protocol, as I learned later that day when Zero’s cardboard box arrived at my aid station.

The plan was to send the box to the crematorium at Camp Bastion, but I first had to know if the contents had been violated in transit. I opened it. Inside was Zero’s disembodied lower leg retrieved—after he had been choppered away—from the roof of a house near the blast. There was a boot like mine and a sock like mine and an ankle like mine. That all made sense. But what followed from there was all wrong. Rising from the ankle was a disastrous stump: The fibula was a muddy jagged tusk; the tibia was a series of chunks, none larger than a domino; both were swaddled in shredded layers of gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, and a swishing flap of cold, flaccid fat and skin. Other little pieces were there as well, none larger than a quarter. I noted the contents, sealed and signed the parcel, and assigned a senior corpsman as its courier to the ovens at Bastion.

As I sat down for a cigarette, I felt the most intense impotence I have ever felt. Zero was our first casualty of the deployment, and looking at what was once his leg, I realized for the first time that I wasn’t there to help the severest casualties. Though I was the most highly trained member of our medical team, though I had given up a cushy job to support the fight, though I had put myself as far forward as I could justify, my role was only to look on as others worked. To relinquish control of a grisly situation to a junior team member is contrary to our usual choices. The corpsman and the Marines who ran through the haze of dust and terror to find him in a crater—they were the ones who saved his life first. After them, he was in the hands of the trauma surgeons at Bastion. Me? I’d heard the radio traffic minutes after the explosion and helped coordinate the medevac. To this day I follow Zero’s rehabilitation progress, yet we have never met. This was the pattern: The worst cases were all lifted directly from the spot they were injured, and I never did use my hands in their times of need. I was on the distant end of a chain of people trying to keep other people alive. I felt useless.

Read more HERE.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has picked up on the latest political internet meme: when President Obama was a boy, he ate dog. The Senator chimed in via Twitter today:

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The Motor City Madman does not pose a threat to the Commander in Chief.

Ted Nugent’s recent verbal assault against the Obama administration at an NRA convention caught the attention of the Secret Service. But The Hill reports that Secret Service agents paid Nugent a visit earlier today and appear to be satisfied his comments held no real threat to the president.

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Times of Israel: “In an extraordinary act of civil dissent, captured in a clip uploaded on YouTube, Iranian citizens in the southern city of Bandar-Abbas rushed into the path of a car carrying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a visit to the city and confronted him to complain about their economic plight.”

Click HERE for video

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Kuhner: Obama’s disastrous war

Imam Claims San Jose, California Named After ‘Saint Hussein’

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Doubt if Rush is breaking out in any sweat over this.

Daily Caller:

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is attempting, once again, to do what no other group has been able to accomplish — get radio giant Rush Limbaugh off the air.

On Thursday, the women’s advocacy group announced a renewed protest campaign — “Enough Rush” — to bring Limbaugh down.

“He is going to be whining and calling us out about his First Amendment rights” Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, told The Daily Caller about how she expects Limbaugh to react to their campaign. “There is nothing in the Constitution that says Rush Limbaugh gets $38 million a year for being on a radio show.”

The group, which Limbaugh often jokingly refers to as the NAGs (“National Organization of Gals”), is rallying their chapters for a day of protest on May 18th.

Brian Glicklich, Limbaugh’s spokesman, told TheDC that his audience will not be driven away by the group’s efforts.

“Every organization that has tried to censor Rush Limbaugh has failed because his audience won’t stand for being told by agenda-driven activists what speech is acceptable,” Glicklich explained. “NOW has been attempting to silence ideas they dislike for a long time; this is nothing new, and has no more integrity or honesty today than ever.”

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