Thursday, November 19, 2009

Navy surgeon saves lives and limbs in Afghanistan

Currently on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, Royal Navy Surgeon Commander Graham Hill believes that this is his hardest tour so far.

Cdr Hill, who is normally based at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, is currently saving lives and limbs in his post at the operating table of Camp Bastion's field hospital in Helmand province.

He deployed to Afghanistan in October 2009 for an eight-week tour as the UK Joint Forces Medical Group's Field Hospital Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.

"My main role here is to assess and operate on the traumatic limb injuries which come through the Emergency Department's doors. I also treat the usual breaks and sprains from physical exercise but I'd say about eighty per cent of my work is on trauma," siad Cdr Hill said.

The British-run medical facility at Camp Bastion cares for British, American, International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Army battlefield casualties, as well as local Afghan civilians who have been caught in cross fire or injured by the Taliban's homemade roadside bombs:

"This is my fourth deployment to Afghanistan," Cdr Hill said. "Previously the hospital was in tents so it is the first time I've worked in this purpose-built facility.

"The whole hospital is designed to treat very serious battlefield wounds and has first class specialists and state-of-the-art medical equipment to do that effectively."

Bastion's hospital is currently staffed by around four hundred Army medics from 33 Field Hospital, based in Gosport, Hampshire, 254 General Support Medical Regiment based in Preston, Lancashire, and Territorial Army personnel from 256 (City of London) Field Hospital (Volunteers), as well as Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, American, Danish and Estonian medical professionals.

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