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
Canadian | Lover of gruesome horror/depravity/anything medically related/urban fantasy/non-fiction/and YA.
Absolutely! George K. Wilson did a fantastic job narrating this book! I especially loved all the voices and accents he did to distinguish all the different characters. I would consider the audio edition to be preferential to the print version because it feels like you are in the room with Dr. Hnida listening to him tell the story.
The comradery and the hi-jinks! Dr. Hnida also has a best friend, Rick, and I really enjoyed their growing friendship.
I'm really impressed by the accents he did, especially for Rick. There are a lot of funny interpersonal moments in this book, and George K. Wilson made all of them shine!
I found the honesty and humour of this book to be particularly moving. I especially liked how the doctors resort to having a laugh to bring up their spirits when things are tense and heavy, and using humour to make the wounded feel less afraid.
If you enjoy watching M*A*S*H or enjoyed the book by Richard Hooker then I highly recommend Paradise General! Dr. Hnida even mentions some of the parallels of his work and the TV show. There is a mixture of seriousness and hilarity that is appreciable, and Dr. Hnida is a very likable character.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
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.
Great insights into the intense pressures of a part of war we rarely hear about. Often heart-wrenching and hilarious. Narrator perfect fit for the sardonic attitude of the author.
Dr. Hnida has made me both laugh and cry while reading this book (That, to me, is the sign of an amazing book). It is written very well, and he is hilarious, while also being sincere and serious at appropriate times. There were a lot of lessons he explored, and a lot he taught me about military medicine.
I will be recommending this to everyone I know!
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