Archives for March 25, 2003

Devil Docs

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on that the Navy has developed and deployed a forward surgical capability. That’s great news, and I look forward to their publications in the future as to their effectiveness, mortality and infection rates. I actually would not hold a modestly increased mortality rate against them, as they’re going to get very injured combatants, the most injured of whom might have died on the way to a more remote OR.

According to Dr. Gupta:

In this mobile operating room — a tent that can be set up or torn down in less than an hour — it’s not unusual for these doctors — Navy personnel who work for the Marines Corps — to perform surgery on their enemy.
Monday was the first time the Frontline Resuscitative Surgical Suite has been used, and doctors began treating some of the first patients coming from the front line.

Dr. Gupta did a creditable job of describing the facility but wasn’t given enough room to explain the odd title: Devil Docs?

In WW I, at the battle of Belleau Wood, not only did the USMC distinguish itself in combat, but they won the grudging admiration of their German enemy, who reportedly stated they fought like ‘Teufelhunden’, or Devil Dogs. The Marines liked the sobriquet and adopted it as a nickname, often greeting each other as such. The Devil Docs is a natural extension, applied to the US Navy medical personnel who proudly serve in the Green Machine.

It’s a terrific capability, and I hope it save a lot of lives. I’m rooting for our Devil Docs, the Corpsmen and Physicians alike.