'Baghdad ER' turns off the lights
By CHELSEA J. CARTER (AP)
BAGHDAD — Army Capt. Amy Prichard took one last look around the room where thousands of war-ravaged soldiers and civilians were treated by U.S. medics in Baghdad's protected Green Zone. Before turning off the lights, she began to cry.
"This is the room where we saved lives on a routine basis, and sometimes we lost them," said Prichard, who earlier served as a morgue assistant. "There are a lot of ghosts for me in this room, in this hospital."
The U.S. military was scheduled Thursday to return Ibn Sina Hospital — dubbed the Baghdad ER — to the Iraqi government, ending the American role in what was once the busiest military trauma center in Iraq.
The closure has brought many of the soldiers of the 10th Mountain (sic) Combat Support Hospital full circle. [10th CSH is obviously meant here.] The unit was deployed at the hospital at the height of the war's carnage in 2005 and 2006. The 10th Mountain (sic) returned earlier this year and learned they would be shutting it down.
Maj. Adam Vanek, who worked as the head nurse at Ibn Sina, said he is keeping a card written by the daughter of a soldier badly wounded in the days before U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June.
"It's a homemade card with a picture of her with her arm around her dad, and it says: Thank you for saving my daddy," said Vanek, 37, of Washington D.C. "That's the kind of thing I want to remember."
God bless all who served there and all who passed through its doors. We can never thank you enough.
Update: Mr. Wolf has more on this story at Blackfive. He's also asking readers to share their experiences at 'Bagdhad ER' in the comments there.