Saturday, January 16, 2010

Coppola, A Pediatric Surgeon In Iraq by Dr. Chris Coppola

This book came as a total surprise to me.  I've always had respect for those who serve in our military, and the doctors who serve there hold a special place.  But somehow I never thought that the medical staff is not only taking care of our wounded soldiers.  They also take care of the civilians caught up in tragedy, and even take time to aid enemy combatants.  As such, they provide two major services.  The main mission, and their main contribution, is allowing the survival of so many more military casualties.  But their work with the civilian population serves as an ambassadorship, showing other countries that America is willing to help all.

Dr. Chris Coppola served two surgical rotations in Iraq.  He is a pediatric surgeon and found quite a scope of work for his specialty.  There are many children who are burned in bombings, shot, or hurt by falling rubble.  Since the medical capacities of Iraq have been pretty much destroyed by the war, Dr. Coppola also found himself as the doctor of choice for birth defects, or diseases that disfigured and harmed the children there.  Often, he was able to provide life-saving or enhancing medical care that these children would never be able to get otherwise.

Much of the book talks about how anyone in the military serving overseas in a battle situation feels.  There is the fear when battle hits contrasted with everyday boredom.  There is the overwhelming lonliness of being without their family.  There is the satisfaction of knowing that they have completed a mission, and hopefully have made the lives of those around them better.  Regardless of whether they agree with the mission or not, these men and women are serving a life of service to others, and I admire them greatly for their sacrifice.

This book is recommended for those interested in current events.  It is an interesting take on the war not often heard, and it adds to the reader's knowledge of the conflict while helping them clarify their feelings about this situation.

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