Thursday, January 3, 2008

Read: "On Call in Hell" by CDR. Richard Jadick

Read: On Call in Hell:a doctor's Iraq War story by CDR. Richard Jadick, 2007, 9780451220530.

Good book. Jadick continually emphasizes the dedication and skill of his Navy corpsmen and the Marines fighting in Fallujah. Picked this one for the book club.

Jadick graduated college, was a Marine officer for seven years, went to medical school on a Navy scholarship, then went back to a Marine battalion as a Navy surgeon. Battalion surgeon is the scutjob all the new and inexperienced Navy doctors get, but Jadick really enjoyed it. So, years later, when the Marines were scrambling for doctors for their upcoming MEU and Iraq deployment Jadick volunteered and ended up running a Battalion Aid Station in the middle of the Battle of Fallujah.

Jadick appeared on the cover of Newsweek in a story about the Battle of Fallujah and his aid station there. From that story he must have received a book offer. Heck, that article is why I bought the book. Since this is one of those flash-in-the-pan autobiographies Jadick briefly covers everything else in his life: growing up, college, Marine Corps, Med School, Navy career, etc. There is plenty more about Iraq, trauma medicine, and Fallujah he could have talked about, but he did not focus on that alone.

The basics to emergency medicine in combat are surprisingly simple. Keep them breathing, pack the wounds with gauze, pump them full of Hespan (to increase plasma volume), get them to a field hospital. Jadick - following the rule of leading from the front- went with his team into Fallujah to set up an aid station as close to the fight as he could get it. Jadick is a trained surgeon who did a few months in a civilian trauma unit but even he did nothing too advanced. He left most aid station work to the skilled corpsman he helped train and prepare.

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