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Toxicology in a Combat Support Hospital

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In observance of Veteran’s Day (11/11) we invite you to take a journey into the life of one soldier’s remarkable experience while deployed overseas in Mosul, Iraq.

Shortly after finishing my fellowship in medical toxicology, I began an active duty commitment with the United States Army.  Within eight months I was deployed to the 47th Combat Support Hospital (CSH, pronounced “cash”) in Mosul, Iraq.  My primary role was an emergency medicine physician, working in the ER caring for soldiers, local nationals, and occasionally insurgents.  Unless injured from combat operations, our CSH didn’t provide medical care for Iraqi civilians.  Occasionally we made exceptions to provide compassionate care for children who needed our help.  As a toxicologist, I didn’t have many cases in Iraq.  There was an occasional scorpion sting but not much else…   

Life was fairly simple:  take care of patients, exercise, read, sleep- then repeat daily.  We joked that it was like the movie “Groundhog Day,” where every day seemed to be a repeat of the day before.  Frequent incoming mortar fire kept most of us military rookies from sleeping well at night; often feeling on-edge, waiting for the next round of mortars to hit.  Read more »