Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Heroic female medic who ignored shrapnel embedded in her shoulder to save SEVEN soldiers during Taliban attack - Daily Mail
An heroic army medic treated seven injured comrades after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan despite being wounded with shrapnel herself, it emerged today.
Lance Corporal Sally Clarke, of 2 Rifles, ignored the searing pain caused by the shards embedded in her shoulder and back and set about treating the rest of her patrol.
The worst hit was Corporal Paul Mather who incredibly managed to radio instructions for jets circling above to open fire on Taliban insurgents despite bleeding heavily from wounds the size of his fist.
Corporal Mather, 28, and Lance Corporal Clarke, 22, from Cheltenham, were on patrol south of Sangin when insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades over a wall as soldiers dealt with an anti-tank mine.
Hot flying shrapnel sliced open Corporal Mather's body, leaving gaping holes across his arms, legs and buttocks.
He said: 'It hurt like hell, but once the explosions stopped and my hearing came back, I managed to climb through a ditch towards a group of soldiers treating other casualties.
'I had a hole in my left bicep, so the medics applied a field dressing and tourniquet to stem the blood flow.'
Despite being entitled to get out as soon as she was hit Lance Corporal Clarke refused, insisting she would not leave the patrol without a medic.
She said: 'I didn't feel like my injuries were bad enough to go back to the hospital, particularly as I was the only medic on the ground at the time.
'I couldn't leave them on their own - I came out here to support the troops on the ground and give them medical care when they needed it the most.'
Realising the jets and Apache attack helicopters above the patrol had seen the explosions and needed to know what had happened, Corporal Mather told one of the soldiers to take a smoke grenade and throw it into the compound where the grenades had come from.
'The pilot immediately picked up the smoke signal and I gave directions for a strike on to the compound,' said Mather.
He continued to radio instructions until he was on the helicopter where he finally took some morphine to ease the pain.
Corporal Mather is now recovering at home with his parents, Phil and Rose.
He said they were looking after him well and feeding him 'pizza and ice cream'.
Lance Corporal Clarke, who stayed on the ground and accompanied the rest of the patrol back to base, was later treated by a doctor in a medical aid post. She is due home within weeks to visit her parents Chris and Rosemary Clarke.