Thursday, September 3, 2009

British Army Medic Puts Other Lives Before Her Own

Every soldier who ever served in combat knows how important our medics are. Even in the worst possible situation, they are moving to help the wounded. In the following story reported by AOL News, a British medic proves once again that the medic's duty to fellow troops is their primary mission:

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Injured Medic Saves 7 Soldiers
AOL News

(Sept. 2) - A British army combat medic put the safety of her comrades above her own in saving seven fellow soldiers in the aftermath of a grenade attack in Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Sally Clarke, 22, was serving with her patrol in the country's Helmand province when they came across a field mine. While waiting for a team to dispose of it, they came under a surprise attack from Taliban insurgents who fired a rocket-propelled grenade into their midst, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph.

After ducking for cover, Clarke realized that she had shrapnel wounds in her back and shoulder from the explosion -- and that seven fellow soldiers were also down with injuries.

Clarke immediately began moving from soldier to soldier, treating each for their wounds despite the searing pain from her own wounds, the Telegraph said.

The worst injuries were suffered by Cpl. Paul Mather, 28, who had serious puncture wounds in his arms, legs and buttocks.

"One of the pieces of shrapnel had torn a fist-sized hole through his skin," Clarke told the Telegraph. "I applied field dressings and a tourniquet to one of his wounds, while we waited for the Medical Emergency Response Team to arrive."

Clarke continued caring for all six other soldiers as well and even aided them in reaching a helicopter evacuation point. However, when it came time for her to take seat on the chopper and to get away from the battlefield, she refused on the grounds that the rest of the patrol required a medic and she couldn't abandon them despite her pain and injuries.

"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," she told the Telegraph. "I didn't want to leave them on their own."

Clarke later received medical attention and is headed home from Afghanistan.

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After serving with members of the British military during my tour in Iraq, I can attest to their overwhelming professionalism and courage. One day we were short of a turret gunner while transporting numerous senior Coalition officers along dangerous Route Irish. A British army lieutenant colonel volunteered to man the turret for us. This only confirmed what I knew about the warriors of the United Kingdom. They were the ultimate team players.

Charles M. Grist

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