Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Trauma Care: Trauma Hospital in Afghanistan Provides State-of-the-Art Medical Service

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Trauma Care: Trauma Hospital in Afghanistan Provides State-of-the-Art Medical Service

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"ATTENTION on the FOB. Attention on the FOB," frequently blares from an array of speakers and echoes across Forward Operating Base Salerno. The announcement is usually followed by code words describing the number of patients inbound on a medical evacuation flight.

Most people on Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, continue their business unaffected, but for the medical staff of the Salerno Hospital the code words mean two things: mass casualties are coming in, and it's about to get very busy.

In one 38-day period during the summer, the staff responded to 39 trauma events and admitted 47 patients. They took nearly 600 X-rays, performed 57 surgeries, conducted 259 CT scans and treated 56 battle-related injuries.

"This is a trauma hospital," said Lt. Col. Gregory A. Kolb, commanding officer, 344th Combat Support Hospital. "It's not a typical hospital like we have in the U.S. Most of our patients are trauma patients."

About 90 percent of patients treated at the hospital are battle casualties who arrive by medevac helicopter. "Most of the injuries we see here are from improvised explosive devices, shrapnel and gunshot wounds," said Kolb.

Salerno Hospital is equipped to provide top-notch care to its patients. It has its own labs, CT scan equipment, radiology section, operating room, pharmacy and more.

"This hospital is completely on par with hospitals in the U.S.," said Lt. Col. Paul J. Schenarts, a trauma surgeon and deputy commander of clinical services, 344th CSH. "We don't lack anything. We are able to get diagnostic results back very quickly here, usually within a matter of minutes. That doesn't happen in the States."

In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, the hospital also has some of the most highly trained staff available.

"Our staff here is very professional and very compassionate," said Kolb. …

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