Sunday, March 2, 2008

Finally, Some Detail from Perry O'Brien, IVAW!

I've waited quite some time for this. In the Times On Line article published today, Perry O'Brien gave out some (but not enough!) detail of what he has been saying he will testify about at Winter Soldier. Three months ago, Adam Kokesh printed an e-mail from O'Brien on his site, in which O'Brien wrote:
“I will be testifying to the illegal use of Afghan corpses for medical "practice," which I witnessed while serving as a medic in Afghanistan.”
To me that always left a lot up in the air. Even within Islam it is permitted for medical personnel to utilize cadavers for study and training, but even so, as is the case here, such can still be done illegally. From the Times On Line:
In January 2003, O’Brien was deployed to Afghanistan for eight months. While he was there, he had many experiences that made him uncomfortable. Several times he witnessed an Afghan civilian die on the operating table after treatment from a mobile military surgical unit. Rather than prepare the corpse for the family, O’Brien witnessed the surgeons and the medics use the body to practise on.

“One doctor said, ‘Come up and feel his heart!’ This is what a heart feels like.’ ”

Half the platoon, if not more, participated. Daniel Paulsen, 27, was there and corroborates this story. There are photographs as well. Someone had grabbed O’Brien’s digital camera and taken photographs of the heart and the medics walking around and poking it. These photographs were taken for fun.

Eventually the chest of the corpse was closed up. “It was a total violation of our medical oath to use a corpse for medical training,” says O’Brien. “What’s particularly terrible is that these were all doctors that had practices back home – they were familiar with the law and the Hippocratic oath. There was such a huge disconnect between the way they treated Afghans and the way they treated American patients.

O'Brien needs to be questioned in some detail on this. The story says the photographs were taken for fun, but the surefire implication was that the doctor was using the opportunity of an open chest to let a group of medics learn what a human heart fells like! Why might that be a good thing? Simply because those medics might just find themselves in a situation with a soldier, a Marine, an Afghan civilian adult or child or even an enemy insurgent with a traumatic chest wound, say from the shrapnel of an IED explosion, miles from a hospital, in which it may help to save a life if the medic can recognize that heart muscle!

O'Brien says “It was a total violation of our medical oath to use a corpse for medical training...”

Yet cadavers are used for medical training for doctors and nurses every day! And this was not the needless dissection of a corpse. The way this is described, the heart of that dead patient was exposed already. Unless O'Brien can give a lot more incriminating detail than that, rather than an atrocity or a war crime or even a severe act of criminal behavior, doctors may indeed have broken rules and even possibly laws but did so in the interest of saving lives by using whatever methods were available to instruct people in what is not readily available, such as, what the human heart muscle feels like.

For a very long time, centuries, people have known that battlefield surgery and medical treatment are unlike any other. They are the busiest high crime big city ER on steroids with explosions and shrapnel thrown in. The M.A.S.H. units were famous, long before the television series, for both their life saving unorthodox approaches to treatment in dire circumstance as well as their irreverent behavior.

People have long recognized that levity in the pressure cooker and even the horror are not due to a lack of decency. They are often simply how good people try to cope with what is hard.

This story needs to be flushed out or down!

I have a relative who managed a big city ER for years. Army Special Forces has agreements with hospitals around the country. SF medics in training would go to those, often to the ERs, and wait for the case to come in that needs the chest to be opened. If lucky, it can be a scheduled open heart surgery. Openingthe chest is always major surgery. Sometimes it's sceduled, sometimes they wait for days. If one comes in, and that's not a sure thing, the medic trainee scrubs and enters the surgery. With the surgeon and medical staff present, he opens the chest. Then he backs off and the regular staff do their thing.

Why do they do that? Because SF medics on teams will quite often operate in places where there are not only no medical facilities, but in places where extraction to such facilities is often not possible, or has to wait. If someone is shot in the chest and dying, an SF medic may have to open that chest in the field, wherever that field is.

There are no doubt a great many people who have had open heart surgery around who have had their chests opened by SF medics in training. If they knew that, some might not be happy about it. Yet every protection is there. The medics are trained for the procedure in the same classroom manner as physicians, and just like physicians, the first time they do so it is supervised by a surgeon and medical staff and in a controlled environment.

It saves lives. But it is not what people expect!

O'Brien really needs to give details of this "practice". Was it "practice" for saving lives?

8 comments:

Rurik said...

This is incredible! Of course those surgeons were going exactly what goes on in western civilian hospitals every day. They should be commended. While a pre-medical student I was able to witness several operations, and also to work as a morgue assistant, assisting in autopsies. Exellent training for someone who may be providing emergency care.
As for the voyeuristic complaints about medics taking picture - has Idiot O'Brien ever seen a newspaper or TV report of an accidnt or Hesbollah attack?

Or does Mr. O'Brien think that swapping "prostate exams" in the East Village is adequate medical training.
RX for Mr. O'Brien - Regular ice water colonics, administered until he is no longer full of it.

streetsweeper95B said...

Doc Rurick! Doc Rurik....(limping to the medical tent...Doc? Hurt muh knee real bad....I tripped over Sergeants damn out of sync watch! Can you fix it?

LOL

NAMedic said...

I guess it is going to become necessary to fisk everything these people say.

For starters, so what if a doctor in an OR or surgery asked staff to examine post mortem remains for purposes of an otherwise unavailable – and extremely valuable - training experience?

1) Is this allegation true at all? Please document or corroborate: "DUPES."

2) Please site law and Hippocratic oath provisions you say are applicable. Hippocratic oath I read is totally silent on such practices. It is however explicit in prohibiting euthanasia and abortion. All doctors in Western countries take this oath. Hmmm? Who knew?

These "allegators" count on you not knowing many things. The 40 year-long Leftist project to produce gullible morons through our public educational system has not gone unrewarded. Note the sophomoric condition of our current political discourse.

3) As an Army medic, the only oath I ever took was my swearing in to the military service. Has this changed in the U.S. military, to where enlisted corpsmen now take some sort of professional oath? Maybe, my experience is 40 years ago. But I doubt it. So please cite this oath and where it can be found in Army Medical Corps or training publications.

4) Pictures are referenced, but none produced. If they are ever produced, examine them carefully; like the IVAW "preview" video now on their site: http://ivaw.org/index.php .
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it may be a thousand irrelevant words. See my comments posted here last week: http://keohane.blogspot.com/2008/02/vietnam-vet-replies-to-ivaws-video.html

5) My experience of the "methods and means" in the WSI 1971 testimony is this, now that I've read it all again, together with the newly released CID documents: (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=5AA13DC0-481C-46BC-AF88-D5FE933B321):

. . . what they did, in almost every case, was take some event that was more or less routine or to be expected, and both legal and moral, but which is out of the realm of normal civilian experience (or as in this case, normal non-medical experience), and then they deliberately mischaracterize it explicitly in the worst possible light. A simple and typical example is to allege that GI's routinely tried to kill Vietnamese children by hitting them with cans of C-rations while speeding by in vehicles. What actually happened was that some kids were accidentally injured when GI's tossed C's to them as charity while passing by in vehicles. Not too smart a thing for soldiers - barely out of their teens in most cases - to do, but not any kind of violation of law or morality. And, in fact, anyone with evil intent would have to be a damn good pitcher as well, if he ever expected to hit a small running target from a vehicle moving maybe 20 to 50 mph, bouncing all the while on mostly unpaved dirt roads, and kill with a non-ballistic, non-spherical object that weighs in at a few ounces. Unless the Army was full of major league (Hall of Fame) 3rd basemen back then.

What they did was describe something with deliberate inaccuracy or incompleteness, then manufacture a nefarious motive which was, in fact, unlikely or impoossible.

6) All these "allegations" need to be initially doubted, “considering the source,” their motives and their history going back 40 years, and then rigorously questioned. I would never grant their premises, as some seem to do here, and I would hold them to the normal journalistic or legal standards of who, what, when and where. If they are going to libel individuals or entire groups of soldiers again, or in fact their own country, to paint them as racist, callous, inhumane, arrogant imperialists, because that is exactly the impression this is trying to create, then they are going to have to realize that they will not get away with the same naive acceptance of their every word as was granted to their models and mentors by their captive media in the 1970's.

7) Note that this guy does not even allege that anything improper was done (removal of the heart for unauthorized experiments, for example). With this whole IVAW crew, we must keep in mind that it is not ”what” happened (if it ever did) but how they represent what happened and what impression this is intended to create. We must remember we are not dealing with normal reporting or even personal memoirs. We are dealing with propaganda.

Denis Keohane said...

"With this whole IVAW crew, we must keep in mind that it is not ”what” happened (if it ever did) but how they represent what happened and what impression this is intended to create. We must remember we are not dealing with normal reporting or even personal memoirs. We are dealing with propaganda."

namedic

Having waded through statements by IVAW members for some months now, that is a totally accurate desription.

Perry said...

Perry O'Brien here. I'm writing because I'd like some clarity: do those who have posted the above comments feel that it is morally acceptable to use a cadaver for medical practice without the explicit approval of the patient?
The Hippocratic Oath, which is the philosophical foundation of Western medicine, explicitly prohibits doing "injustice" to a patient. If you admitted a family member to a hospital, and that relative sadly passed on, how would you feel if you discovered that the body had been used as a teaching tool? Without consent? Can anyone on this site honestly tell me they wouldn't be outraged if it became known that we were using the corpses of American soldiers this way?

If you feel this is acceptable, than this comes down to a simple moral difference. I believe that dead bodies should be shown proper respect, a view reflected in all major religions and international law.

streetsweeper95B said...

Speaking of the Devil...."Perry O'Brien here. I'm writing because I'd like some clarity: do those who have posted the above comments feel that it is morally acceptable to use a cadaver for medical practice without the explicit approval of the patient?"

Did you file your concerns with your Company CO? Not getting any resolve there, did you move it on up the chain of command? Did you notify NCIS/CID of the incident?

"The Hippocratic Oath, which is the philosophical foundation of Western medicine, explicitly prohibits doing "injustice" to a patient."

You a board certified surgeon? Family practicitioner?

"If you admitted a family member to a hospital, and that relative sadly passed on, how would you feel if you discovered that the body had been used as a teaching tool? Without consent? Can anyone on this site honestly tell me they wouldn't be outraged if it became known that we were using the corpses of American soldiers this way?"

For some reason, Mr O'Brien an autopsy is usually a part of any death. Do believe that its used to legally establish cause of death.

"If you feel this is acceptable, than this comes down to a simple moral difference. I believe that dead bodies should be shown proper respect, a view reflected in all major religions and international law."

What? You now presenting yourself as an "expert" in international & US Law? Is that it? I'll ask you; Why didn't you report anything you uh deemed illegal to your superiors right then? Within a 24hr time frame?

You espouse legal & moral responsibilities....Where does your paper trail begin & end? Did you report your witnessing the ummmm incident to NCIS? Army CID?
Battalion, Brigade or Fleet Command as the case may be?

Oh wait! Instead of doing any of the above, you decided to wait until you were stateside & still having a moral & legal responsibility to make your unresolved issue known & report to the proper authorities.....

You brainfarted? Did you fall in love & completely forget about it? Because you were on meth? Is that it? Come on, I might that...

NAMedic said...

Perry,
In your comments quoted in the body of this post, you use the plural repeatedly. In your comment you refer to only the one "feel-the-heart" incident. Are you personally a witness to more than this one incident?

Once a patient is dead, he is no longer a patient. He also can't give permission to those who just tried to save his life to have a closer look.

You say this was an Afghan, but you do not say if he was friend or foe, civilian or Taliban/AlQueda. I ask, because it is likely there was no family around to ask or to "prepare" the remains for, if he was foe.

You leave the impression - I believe deliberately - that this is just an example of other awful things done in this case and in other cases. Is this an isolated incident?

If this is all you've got, it is pretty thin stuff on which to hang a claim of racist imperialist inhumanity by the medical establishment of the U.S. Army.

Didn't you do or witnesses anything decent in your medical expereince in Afghanistan? Has the professional Army gone so far down from the largely drafted one I knew 40 years ago - when we spent most of our time giving medical care to the local civilian population in Vietnam, when we were not on operations?

I personally risked my life to get a wounded enemy soldier onto a medevac, along with three local women he had brutally burned in the face. But that's not the kind of tales that conform to the narrative the VVAW and the IVAW want the people of the world to believe about America, is it?

Are we supposed to salute you for advancing that perverted and intellectually dishonest political propaganda agenda?

NAMedic said...

From Perry O’Brien’s entry in “Member Profiles” on the IVAW website:

http://ivaw.org/member/perry-o039brien

“I felt like a terrorist myself for being complicit in the illegal detainment, torture, and murder of thousands of innocent civilians.”

Say W H A T??

And you can back this up, right?