Good intentions aren’t always good

When I was a medic in Afghanistan, I observed something that I’ve thought over often.

I worked in the field hospital. We got Americans, locals, pretty much everyone. We got every kind of injury too.

On one occasion, we got some American soldiers who’d gotten the worst of an IED attack. Two were in our ER waiting their turn for the OR where the surgeons were working on two more.

I was sopping up blood from a head wound and holding pressure on the lesser injured of the two casualties. There were a lot of people around – medics, nurses, PAs, and a couple of officers of the unit that had been attacked. A Chaplin was there – I guess just in case.

The thing that stands out in that particular incident was that Chaplin. Most people with serious injuries get oxygen. That’s standard procedure. There’s also protocol if the person can’t take it. Often children are afraid of the mask so you’re supposed to hold it off their face.

This more seriously injured guy near the Chaplin was in shock and probably out of his mind. The Chaplin started giving him oxygen and he started fighting it saying he couldn’t breathe. Obviously if he can shout, he can breathe. But he was thrashing around because of the mask and probably making his injuries worse. This went on for a couple of minutes.

It occurred to me later on that someone should have told the Chaplin to hold the mask off the casualties’ face. The Chaplin had good intentions and was following the proper procedure but he forgot (or didn’t know) that you can’t force people. It doesn’t matter what was good for the casualty. If he was fighting it, he was better off without it. All he would have had to do was hold the mask an inch off the casualty’s face.

Out of respect for all parties involved, I’m going to let you draw your own life and marketing lessons from that one.

1 Response

  1. To be given space to be what you must be is the best we can hope for in this life. When that time comes I hope I will have the courage and inspiration to make the right decision.

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