Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chaplain Bell Puts in "The Fix" at Bagram E/R

Have you ever read the book "Mash", which was the basis for the movie and TV show? It was written by H. Richard Hornberger, who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker and used his experience as an Army surgeon at the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as background for his work.

The Colonel Blake and Father Mulchahey characters are both much tougher and sympathetic characters than they are portrayed as being in the movie and TV show.

It has probably been 20 years since I read it. But looking at a picture that was recently sent me by the hospital Chaplain for TF Med, Bagram, I suddenly remembered that the author wrote about some wounded soldiers that the doctors felt were beyond their power to save. They would patch the patients up as best they could, then ask Father Mulcahey to "Put in the fix", as they called it. And these cynical, college-educated doctors would watch in awe, again and again, as wounded men survived for no reason that medical science could explain.

Captain Howard S. Bell, Chaplain, Task Force Medical Hospital
Bagram AF, Afghanistan praying with the Trauma Unit before an E/R call

Chaplain Bell told me that American casualties at Bagram were higher than at Balad hospital (the largest US Military hospital in Iraq) this month. That's the first time that's ever happened.