Five buses carrying litter-bound patients from Fallujah arrived one after the other within the span of an hour Sunday evening. A contingent of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center staffers met the incoming wounded at the emergency room.
Since fighting in Fallujah flared up again, this scenario has become the norm at LRMC. In a little more than a week, LRMC has received 461 downrange patients – with 257 of those suffering battle injuries. Normally, only 23 percent of LRMC’s patients suffer battle injuries.
Doctors are working around the clock as needed to care for the injured Soldiers. Nurses and medical technicians from the 435th Medical Group at Ramstein have helped LRMC handle the patient increase.
The intensive care unit and medical surgical ward also have made adjustments to handle the wounded. The ICU has gone from 18 beds to 28, and the surgery ward has surged from 64 beds to 117.
“The current mission for the surgical services here at LRMC is now almost 100 percent Operation Iraqi Freedom care,” said Col. (Dr.) Kory Cornum, 435th Medical Squadron commander and orthopedic surgeon.
“My hands are sore from scrubbing before so many operative cases. The first five days we did 90 OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) cases in the operating room and on Monday we operated on another 25. We have not been this busy with war trauma since the first battle of Fallujah in April of this year,” he said.
Two press conferences were held at LRMC on Sunday and Monday. More than 30 international media members interviewed patients and staff about conditions in Fallujah and how LRMC is coping with the sudden patient increase.