13 February 2013

Treating the war wounded, and getting them home fast

Terrific - and these days rare - report on medical evacuations from Afghanistan from FOX31 Denver.

Tuesday night in his State of the Union address, President Obama said the U.S. war in Afghanistan will be over by the end of 2014.

But that’s still a long way away for soldiers still fighting – and being injured – in the battlefield. And soldiers are still being injured by the hundreds.

"When a soldier is hurt, they’re airlifted out of Afghanistan, and usually taken to Europe.

"They arrive by the busload at an American hospital on foreign soil, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. More than 60,000 patients have been treated at Landstuhl since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

Including, on the day of our visit, Nathan Shurter, an Army Sergeant who just days earlier in Afghanistan had a brush with death when his Army buddy stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) next to him.

“Got him, got me, and got my saw gunner right behind me,” Shurter told FOX 31 Denver.
The homemade bomb turned the terrain into shrapnel, hurling pebbles, dirt and sticks at Shurter, embedding them in his skin.

“Some of the bigger holes (in my skin) are (from) rocks. Doesn’t sound like much, but it works,” Shurter joked.

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