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Photos: Saving lives

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  1. U.S. troops carry Sgt. Maj. Patrick Corcoran of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion to a helicopter on Aug. 12, 2009. He suffered extensive spinal cord injuries when the armored vehicle he was traveling in hit an improvised explosive device, or IED, in Wardak province. Corcoran, who is now being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center., had been with the military for about 20 years. Before being shipped out of Afghanistan, Corcoran received treatment at the 8th Forward Surgical Team trauma center in a remote corner of Logar province. Made of plywood and housed in a small tent, the center may not look like much, but it became the U.S. Army's busiest trauma center in Afghanistan during photographer Erin Trieb’s six-week visit in mid-2009. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Flight medic Sgt. Alan Sharp and Warrant Officer Dan Jones, right, care for an Afghan soldier, center, while transporting him to the trauma center in Logar province on Aug.16. The soldier was shot in the face during a firefight. Local civilians and soldiers usually ask journalists not to identify them, explaining that the Taliban has threatened to kill any Afghan who seeks medical help from foreign forces. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Trauma center staff treat U.S. soldier Michael Anderson of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion who was injured in an IED explosion while on patrol in an armored vehicle in Wardak province on Aug. 12. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Trauma center staff treat Afghan soldiers who were injured in an IED explosion while on patrol on Aug. 12. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Head surgeon Col. Christopher Swiecki of the 8th Forward Surgical Team trauma center reviews a patient’s X-ray. “As a general surgeon, I’d rather our guys not get hurt and the Army not have to send me anywhere, but if our guys do get injured then I want to be the one taking care of them,” he said of working in Afghanistan. “At home we have CAT scans, MRIs — the best equipment. But here, the X-ray is the extent of medical technology,” he said. The center’s five medics, five nurses, four technicians and two chief surgeons treat anybody needing attention, including U.S. troops, members of the Afghan National Army and civilians. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Maj. Shannon Cole helps during an operation on a U.S. soldier who was injured in an IED explosion while on patrol. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. From left to right, Sgt. Erin Aretz, Capt. Martha Serbus, Maj. Terry Dickinson, and Spc. David Dela Cruz treat Spc. Derek Godin, 23, a medic with the 10th Mountain Division’s 4-25 Artillery Regiment. Godin arrived at the trauma center after a rocket-propelled grenade hit his armored vehicle and pierced the door. Godin, who is a medic for his unit, treated himself at first. “After the RPG hit, there was black smoke pouring everywhere inside the truck and I couldn’t see anything,” Godin said during a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C. “It hurt when I got hit, but I knew I just couldn’t lay there and scream, so I put a tourniquet on my leg.” The FST staff had worked alongside Godin during training so he felt secure with them. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Maj. Shannon Cole waits after treating Sgt. Maj. Patrick Corcoran, who was badly injured when the vehicle he was traveling in hit an IED. Corcoran, who is now being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, had been with the military for about 20 years and was less than a year from retirement. “When (Corcoran) came in to the FST I knew he was in bad shape,” Cole said during a phone interview. “When we got him out of the operating room and moved him into the ICU it became overwhelming – we have so many years of experience, and it broke my heart because we were doing everything that we could to save him,” she said. "I really thought he wasn’t going to make it, but that didn’t stop us from doing everything that we could do. And I’m so glad we did, because he is now alive and at home with his family,” she said. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Spc. Jessica Damitz, left, and Spc. Chasity Moment play cards with Spc. Mathew Murphy of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion on Aug. 12. Murphy, who was injured in an IED explosion while on patrol and suffered a traumatic brain injury, beat both the medics at gin rummy. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Medics treat an Afghan soldier who was shot in the face during a firefight with the Taliban. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. An Afghan interpreter, left, face not shown, translates for an Afghan civilian, center, while surgeon Col. Jim Sebesta, right, does a check-up after the patient’s surgery. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Staff treat an Afghan child who was shot in the leg by U.S. forces during a firefight with militants. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Technicians prepare an Afghan boy for X-rays. The child was shot in the leg by U.S. forces during a firefight. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Spc. Jon Andrew Fanlo, 23, sits exhausted in the trauma center. “We were on a routine patrol and were hit around 6 a.m. when we struck an IED on Georgia Road in the Tangi Valley,” he said. “The nurses were really cool with me. Every time I had some pain they were right there, they were always checking on me,” said Fanlo, who was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

    Fanlo left Afghanistan and was sent to Walter Reed after medics discovered the extent of his injuries. “The left side of my face was numb, and so they sent me home. I was pissed off about this, I really wanted to stay,” he said. “My buddies are still over there, everyone is still over there. I didn’t want to leave my guys behind.” “When I first got to (Walter Reed) it was pretty hard,” he said. “At first, I was probably getting about an hour of sleep each night. I’m having a problem with short-term memory. But I’m getting better.” (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Medic Spc. Shanna Lynk, left, and Capt. Michelle Racicot wash stretchers outside the trauma center after a day of treating patients. "This job is the most challenging I have ever had because of the reality of the situations we run across, but it is also the most rewarding," Racicot said. (Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

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  2. Editor's note:
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  3. Editor's note:
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  4. Editor's note:
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  1. AFGHANISTAN
    Erin Grace Trieb / PANOS
    Above: Slideshow (15) Saving lives on the front line - Saving lives
  2. Graduation ceremony Afghan Police
    S. Sabawoon / EPA
    Slideshow (24) Saving lives on the front line - Daily life

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