Friday, December 26, 2008


A young boy looks on in the soft light of the setting Iraqi sun.

Christmas was punctuated yesterday with one of our senior Iraqi staff complaining of severe chest pain, sweating and vomiting. I took a look at him and knew right away that he was having some sort of cardiac event and needed to get to the U.S. Army-run hospital inside the International (Green) Zone.

I had rehearsed this scenario dozens of times in my head; loading the patient into an armored car, calls being made to the Coalition's press office to coordinate our arrival and reception, treatment inside the moving car through the checkpoints, and speedy arrival into the hospital for definitive care.

Thankfully everything went as I had envisioned it and we got out Iraqi friend in front of a U.S. Army cardiologist in just under twenty minutes. Oxygen, ECG, IV fluids, more aspirin, more nitroglycerin, morphine, x-rays, antithrombotic therapy; all accomplished quickly relieving our patient's pain and eventually diagnosing unstable angina and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (UA/NSTEMI)

Today, the day after Christmas, we plan to go back to the hospital to visit. I'm thrilled that we have the opportunity to do so. Merry Christmas K.


Hope said...

I can hear your relief in the post, Eric. I'm proud of what you and your team was able to accomplish. Good job. Hope

Anonymous said...

Well done, Eric, well done. The mental prep proved worthy.

High five your way,
Cathy B

Tom B said...

Symptom onset to cardiologist in 20 minutes? All of our patients should be so lucky! :) Good job, Zen Traveler!