22 September 2007
Meeting coalition friends
22 SEP 2007 I just got off of a wild night on call. We admitted (redacted) patients, which isn't the record, or even a mass casualty event, but it makes for a night of constant surgery, I operated until about 3am and then collapsed on a couch. I got up to change an order in ICU; I was gone for a minute, and when I got back another member of the crew had passed out on my couch! Among our patients were a group of detainees who were having their injuries checked, a group of Iraqis injured in a car crash, and toughest of all, most of a patrol of Romanian coalition troops who had been burned after an IED exploded next to their armored personnel carrier. One didn't make it, but we recieved the other (redacted) troops, all of whom had full thickness or third degree burns. They were really tough and answered our questions calmly. If I grab the frying pan the wrong way, I'm screaming like a baby so I can't imagine how horrible they felt. In groups of two, we got them all to the operating room to clean their burns, ensure that they had blood flow through their burned extremities, and checked for burns in their breathing tubes. The all did well and were evacuated out of theater to (redacted) in stable condition. They were accompanied by a very concerned company surgeon and a young officer who served as a translator. They tended to their men attentively, reassured them and helped us whenever they could. I think it was good for the injured men to have some of their contrymen around and it was good for us to work with other coalition partners. I think the more we can make this drive for peace in Iraq an international effort, the better. After the casualties had been evacuated, the doctor and translator were kind enough to snap a picture with me, and we exchanged emails so we might be able to help each other in the future.
As for me, I'm bushed. I'm going to catch up on some shuteye, as soon as I find the guy who borrowed my hooch key last night! I'm off for now, but I'm sure that this war will provide more injured for some time yet.
Take care, and most importantly, Happy B'Day, G ! I love you!
All the best,
LTC Christopher P. Coppola, USAF
APO AE 09315-9997