Michael's Dispatches


We picked up a British patient from 2 Rifles, one of my favorite infantry units.  The British are more sensitive about casualties than Americans (many Americans don’t care about photos if they are wounded, though some do).  Although I was not embedded with the Brits and so do not have to follow British rules, I respect the soldiers.

And so, without the patient’s consent (which was hard to get because he was in pain and the helicopter was loud and the PJs were working), these photos will not show his face.

The problem was apparently appendicitis.  The PJs went to work and at one point a PJ smacked the bottom of the patient’s right boot.  The PJs said that if his appendix is bad, smacking the bottom of his right foot should cause sharp pain in his abdomen.  And true enough, when the medic smacked his boot, the soldier winced in pain.

As we are flying back, vitals and other information are being transmitted back to Camp Bastion so that when we land, the right doctors and nurses will be ready.

The medical evacuation system is excellent.  Our folks work hand in glove with British and Danish back at the hospital.

During the flight, the PJs also put earplugs in the patient so that his head isn’t rattling from this very loud helicopter.  When patients are brought aboard, the PJs slide the doors shut.

This was an easy mission, but at other times there will be multiple amputations and KIAs and so the helicopters can get full.

British fire crews rush to grab patients.

The hospital is about 30 seconds away from the LZ and the PJs usually go inside so that they can do a handoff to the doctors.  Then we fly back to the runway about half a mile away, refuel, and get ready for the next call.

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