A family doctor with limited surgical experience, Dr. Dave Hnida volunteered for two tours of duty in Iraq - first as a battalion surgeon with a combat unit and then as trauma chief at the busiest Combat Support Hospital (CSH) during the Surge.
With honesty and candor, and the goofy, self-deprecating humor that sustained him and his fellow doctors through their darkest hours, he provides an astonishing firsthand account of the psychological horror show of conducting medical care in the front lines of an unscripted war.
Like a modern-day M*A*S*H, Dr. Hnida and his team conducted surgery under terrible conditions in a series of tents connected to the occasional run-down building. With an unrelenting caseload, his CSH, the only one staffed by reservists - older, more experienced physicians (who were also more disdainful of authority) - soon became the medivac destination of choice because of their high survival rate, an astounding 99.5 percent.
Dr. Hnida has suffered some very dark hours. Not only were nine of the students killed in the Columbine shootings, his family practice patients, but his daughter, a place kicker and the first female to score a point in an NCAA Division I football game, was the victim in a widely publicized rape case. He took from these events not hopelessness but rather an overwhelming desire to help as many young people as he could. His decision, at 48, to enlist as a reservist in the Iraq war is a true testament to his commitment to fulfill that goal.
©2010 David Hnida, M.D. (P)2010 Tantor
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David Hnida volunteered to return to Iraq for the second time. His first tour of duty was as a balttlion surgeon with a combat unit. He was a family doctor who had limited skills as a surgeon. His second tour of duty came after Dr. Hnida suffered the loss of 9 of the children of the Columbine massacre, who were his patient's in his general practice. Also, his daughter was the first female player who made a point in the NCAA Division 1 football game. David Hnida had to search for more strength when his daughter was raped.
Hnida was not wallowing in self pity but felt that he had to give something back to all of the young people. His way, was to return to Iraq, becoming the trauma chief of the busiest hospital due to its high survival rate. These young people were serving in Iraq war during the Surge, which was George W. Bush's last command concerning the war in Iraq.
This true account provides the reader with a background of the urgency of trying to save these soldiers with the crucial care needed before being flown out to other hospitals where their injuries would be given long term care. If not for these doctor's, nurse's and aid's, these young people may not have lived to see another day.
Dr. Hnida also discusses how all of them found ways to relieve some of the severe stress they had as members of the hospital unit. Friendships were made that helped the doctor's deployment easier by have someone to confide in.
The narration is great and provides a great listen. The author writes in such a way that creates a sense that you are there. I did not want the book to end. Dave Hnida is a doctor but also a husband and father. He has a life outside of the Iraq war and can return home to his family practice. I wonder how returning home will affect his psyche? This memoir is heart-felt and it has proven that Dr. Hnida has given back his desire to help the young people that was his quest.
Yes. It is well written and very well narrated by George WIlson. Liked the different voices and accents he put into the characters.
The honesty of the writer. The descriptions make you feel like you are there watching the story unfold.
I think his fear at the beginning, wondering what he got himself into. I could so identify with that. It was encouraging to know others are afraid too, but they overcome their fears and succeed at the monumental task in front of them.
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