17 September 2009

‘The greatest and most horrific experience’

Dr. Hammond at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Opthamologist Dr. (Maj.) Matthew Hammond talks about his three-year experience serving at Landstuhl Hospital. He returned home to Logan, UT at the beginning of August.

‘The greatest and most horrific experience’: Logan physician recounts experience treating soldiers injured in Iraq
By Arie Kirk
Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:49 AM CDT

Emotions still run deep for Maj. Matthew Hammond when talking about a three-year experience in Germany serving the men and women he sees as America’s finest — United States soldiers.

“It makes me a little emotional. These guys are, I’m sorry,” he said, pausing. “These guys are awesome guys so, it’s kinda hard.”

Hammond, a native of Providence, served as chief of ophthalmology at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center helping American soldiers, contractors and members of coalitions forces with eye diseases and eye injuries.

He called his service in Germany “incredible and the greatest and most horrific experience.”


“Treating a soldier or civilian who has been injured by an IED is like treating a patient with multiple gunshot wounds, picking out each of the hundreds of fragments of metal, dirt granite, pebbles and grains of sands from a patient’s eyes,” Hammond said.


Hammond said these cases, being so badly injured in the eyes, usually meant the soldier had severe burns or had lost limbs as well.

But the soldiers didn’t let it get them down.

“They’re the real deal,” he said.

Hammond spoke of one man who came through Landstuhl that lost two limbs and an eye.

“He wanted to go back and fight again. Not because of some great mission ... but because his buddies were down there and he wanted to be with them and take care of them,” he said.


But Hammond said his work over there isn’t finished. He hopes to volunteer in Germany for a couple of weeks every year.

“I love taking care of the soldiers,” Hammond said. “I would do that for the rest of my life.”

Thanks to Greta for the link.

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