View Full Version : Best Care in Iraq

05-02-03, 06:37 AM
Fleet Hospital 3 - Best Care in Iraq
Story Number: NNS030429-13
Release Date: 4/30/2003

By Chief Journalist Al Bloom, Fleet Hospital 3 Public Affairs

SOUTHERN IRAQ (NNS) -- "I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and a sacred trust…”

At first blush, this facet of the Hospital Corpsman Pledge may be difficult for some to reconcile when treating battlefield casualties regardless of nationality. However, for the men and women of the Navy’s first Expeditionary Medical Facility constructed in a combat zone, it’s a process that everyone has gone through without hesitation.

“It took me a split second,” said Fleet Hospital (FH) 3 Casualty Receiving Ambulance Driver, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (Fleet Marine Force) Marty Delarosa of Rohnert Park, Calif., a member of Branch Medical Clinic, Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla.

“I was assisting an injured Marine who was just outside our CasRec (Casualty Receiving) door. Just then, another gurney came around me with an Iraqi. For a split second, I thought it was wrong to let our guy wait. But then I looked closer and saw the Iraqi was in worse shape.

“Right then and there, it was crystal clear to me,” added Delarosa. “We’re here as healers. It made perfect sense to me from that point on.”

Making sense of the carnage of war is of course no easy task, so for some, immersion in the work at hand meant not having to dwell on war’s resulting injuries. Considering that FH-3 has seen more than 500 patients since receiving its first patient April 1, there has been ample opportunity to stay busy.

“I don’t want to sound cold or unfeeling,” said FH-3 Patient Administration Tracker Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jean Molina of Brownsville, Texas, and a staff member at Naval Hospital (NH) Pensacola. “When we were busy, I didn’t have time to think about the particular injuries. Personally, that helped me deal with things. I had a job to do, and the sooner I did that, the sooner (the patients) would be helped.”

“We arrived here knowing full well that we’d be needed,” said FH-3 Commanding Officer Capt. Peter O’Connor, of the more than 300 staff who operates within the tent walls of 116-bed inpatient medical facility and who also assembled the structure. “We also knew that we’d be treating all comers. We take care of everyone in need of our care…it’s what we do.”

“We all treat them as patients regardless of their nationality,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Constance Martini from Branch Medical Clinic Whiting Field in Milton, Fla., and who works in the FH-3 Intensive Care Unit. “To tell you the truth, there have been times when (Iraqi patients) were obviously untrusting (of us) and a little combative.

“One patient in particular came in and clearly didn’t trust us,” added Martini, who’s originally from Hornell, N.Y. “He had a pretty bad attitude and even went as far as pulling out his IVs (Intravenous solutions or medications). But by the time he left, he saw firsthand that we were really here to help. He wrote down a note that we had translated. ‘Saddam bad: America Good.’ That note meant a lot.”

Providing compassionate care to all provided tangible lifesaving support for Operation Iraqi Freedom in terms of treating more than 500 patients and performing more than 280 surgeries.

“I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and a sacred trust…” reads the Hospital Corpsman Oath. Maybe it’s not really that difficult to reconcile the treatment of battlefield casualties regardless of nationality after all.

For related news, visit the Naval Hospital Pensacola, Fla. Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nh_pensacola.