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8 Nov, 2013

Now, the Untold Story Of What Happens When Soldiers Come Home | Alternet

At Bagram the three orthopedic surgeons work 14-hour days at a minimum with one night on call, the next night on backup, and the third night, if they’re lucky, asleep. When I talked with them in 2011 they were riding a long wave of wounds, and it was still spring. The winter when fighting falls off was just passing, and in summer they knew everything would be worse.

The catastrophic blasts brought other surgical specialties to Bagram. The explosions seemed to everyone only to get more powerful and the wounds more extensive. Blasts now regularly rose into the perineal area, where the two legs meet, to smash genitals and into the pelvic cavity to pulverize soft tissue and sever intricate bodily systems. In response to a surge of such catastrophic injuries, the army dispatched a urological surgeon from Walter Reed to Bagram in 2010. Six months later, in March 2011, a navy commander stepped into that position. It was his first deployment to a war zone, but after his residency at a level one trauma center and seven years of work as a Naval surgeon at hospitals in the States and Japan, he thought he knew what he was in for. After two months at Bagram, he told me, “Nothing in my experience prepared me for the catastrophic nature of these injuries.”

Read the rest: We Sent Them to Brutal Wars: Now, the Untold Story Of What Happens When Soldiers Come Home | Alternet.