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It isn't just Marines in sick call

7 Apr 2004 | Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

Daily sick call is often the only opportunity for Marines to get looked at by a doctor and receive medication.  However, it isn't just Marines seeing the doctors and taking advantage of the medical care offered here.

"When I see someone come in here, I don't see America, Iraqi, Marine or enemy," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kwele D. Jones, a hospital corpsman with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. 

The 28 year-old Rosedale, N.Y. sailor continued, "I don't see any of that.  I just see a patient."

Half a dozen Iraqis have sought medical care from the Shock Trauma Platoon here, a field version of a civilian emergency room.  Most of the Iraqis treated were wounded in encounters with the Marines at checkpoints.

"Most of the Iraqis I see come through here have been injured by not stopping soon enough at checkpoints," said Lance Cpl Dorian T. Bailey, a 22-yearold motor transport operation from Philadelphia.  "The line companies on the scene bring them back here to us.  We treat any wounded here, it's our job."

The team prides themselves on equal and fair treatment, for Marines and potential enemy alike.

"If we had a bad guy in here, we'd treat him the same way, and he'd get the same medical treatment as a Marine," Bailey said. 

There are a few exceptions, though.

"We'd have him restrained and would make sure he wasn't heavily sedated or anything so he could be questioned," he added.

All civilian patients who are treated at the STP are kept company by an armed guard to ensure the security of both the patients and the corpsmen and Marines in the camp.

"We don't usually restrain civilians, but if he threatened our safety, we would," Jones explained.  "We'd do the same for a Marine if he was a danger to himself or others too."

The team at shock trauma has treated the full spectrum of ailments, from minor problems to those that are life threatening.

"We've seen gunshot wounds and shrapnel wounds which require surgical treatment here," said Lt. Charles F. Youngblood, the battalion surgeon.  "Any bullet wound is a dirty wound, and most likely there would be a high infection rate.  We're increasing their chances of living, even if it's a superficial shrapnel wound.

"Ideally, we would like their wounds to be somehow involved with the Coalition Forces," added the Omaha, Neb. doctor.  "Everyone who walks up the front gate can't be treated.  However, when we turn people away, it is for stuff they can get treatment for at a hospital in town."

Because of the fair and even treatment afforded to all patients here, Iraqi insurgents are sometimes brought to the base in connection with an attack against Coalition Forces.  If they are wounded, their wounds are treated.

"Sometimes it's unpopular... but part of winning the hearts and minds is to give people care they wouldn't normally be able to get."