By Pfc. Robert H. BaumgartnerJune 18, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Army News Service, June 18, 2007) - The busiest emergency room in the world is providing a wealth of experience and confidence to 82nd Sustainment Brigade medics.
The 28th Combat Support Hospital, or Baghdad ER as its commonly known here, is located in the heart of the teeming International Zone. It is the destination for nearly 14,000 traumatically injured patients each year.
"It is designed to rapidly treat and perform damage-control surgery. Basically, to stop major organ bleeding," said Maj. Brian Krakover, deputy surgeon of the 82nd Sustainment Bde.
The hospital is the perfect place for junior medics in need of experience, Maj. Krakover said. His Soldiers, normally stationed at Camp Adder, perform 30-day rotations at the hospital.
"If you want to learn how to take care of these types of injuries, you have to go where the injuries are happening," Maj. Krakover said.
Staff Sgt. Carlington Hewitt, a medic and the platoon sergeant for the medical platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Sustainment Bde., has seen a difference in his young Soldiers after they complete a 30-day rotation at the hospital.
"For a lot of my Soldiers, this is their first duty assignment. They don't have a lot of real-world experience. Here, they get a chance to apply what they've learned and when they leave the hospital, they come away with a lot more confidence," Staff Sgt. Hewitt said.
"When the new medic sees a Soldier who's had both legs amputated by an IED, the first thing he or she is going to do is get right to work and stop the bleeding - not get freaked out because of all the blood and shouting," Maj. Krakover said.
For Staff Sgt. Hewitt, the medics who are assigned to the 28th CSH are perfect mentors and trainers for both himself and his Soldiers.
"The medics here are just on it, I mean pinpoint. They work great as a team, they know each other's jobs... It's just amazing to watch them and even more amazing to pick up and integrate into this system," he said.
Pfc. Nichole Conard compared his rotation at the hospital to his normal job teaching combat lifesaving skills to other servicemembers at Camp Adder.
"Sitting around here, we really don't get a chance to do our jobs. This is a good thing, because if we are not doing our jobs people aren't getting hurt. But things will happen, especially in war, so we want to be as ready and experienced as possible when things go downhill," said the 23-year-old.
The combat lifesaving course the medics teach at Camp Adder has become so popular that U.S. Air Force and Romanian Army commanders have enrolled their servicemembers for certification. But when the training day is over, hardcore professionals like Pfc. Conard are left longing for something more.
"While training fellow Soldiers in necessary combat lifesaving skills is rewarding, working at the 28th CSH is a medic's paradise," Pfc. Conard said.
(Pfc. Robert H. Baumgartner writes for the 82nd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office.)