***image1***ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and network cameraman Doug Vogt were treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center after suffering fragment wounds while on patrol in Iraq.
The blast, which happened about 12 miles outside of Baghdad, was reported to be an improvised explosive device that sent fragmentation flying up and around the lead vehicle where Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Vogt were filming. They were standing in the back of the vehicle with the majority of their torsos exposed. Though each man was said to have been wearing body armor, protective eyewear and kevlar helmet, each suffered very serious injuries.
“You can wear all the right protective equipment and helmets you want, but if the blast is coming from the ground upward, then it doesn’t do much good as the fragmentation hits the exposed parts of the face and head,” said Col. (Dr.) Ronald Place, deputy commander of outlying clinics.
Both men arrived at LRMC’s Intensive Care Unit Jan. 30 at 8:30 a.m. and remained there until they were medically evacuated Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. from Ramstein.
While at LRMC, the men received additional surgeries to clean wounds and ensure stability to fly back to the United States.
Mr. Woodruff’s condition was the more severe of the two. Throughout his stay at LRMC he remained sedated, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Willie J. Tellez, LRMC’s surgery division chief. The sedation level was, however, dropped so that neurological tests could be performed.
“He was able to move all of his extremities,” said Colonel Tellez. “He also opened his eyes.”
Mr. Woodruff suffered no fractures of his extremities, but did have both skull and facial fractures as well as a shoulder blade fracture. Time for Mr. Woodruff to heal could be anywhere from a few months to two years. It is still too early to determine the extent of neurological damage, said Colonel Tellez. Though early, Mr. Vogt showed signs of recovery.
“He spoke to us,” said Colonel Tellez. “He said, ‘Thank you’ and ‘I want to go home.’ What both men have in their favor is the fact that they are young and otherwise healthy. That will help greatly in their recovery.”
Mr. Woodruff and Mr. Vogt had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division and were on a combined exercise with Iraqi Forces when the bomb exploded.