Author: Todd Baker
Details: The first hour after a major trauma is known as the Golden Hour. During those sixty minutes, every step in a patient's resuscitation can mean the difference between life and death. In Baghdad, American military personnel would bleed to death within minutes. We did not have the Golden Hour. We had fifteen minutes. This is our story.
Baghdad ER: Fifteen Minutes chronicles my journey to war as an Emergency Physician serving with the US Army. Beginning as I am preparing to leave my wife and infant daughter behind, the saga covers each of the major events, emotions, and characters I encountered while caring for America’s finest warriors during my tour. The physical, spiritual, and emotional toll the daily rigor of caring for America’s and Iraq’s wounded are documented, as well as many humorous stories and events we shared during our time.
The emergency department, or EMT, of the 86th Combat Support Hospital became a family during this endeavor. We lived together, ate together, cried together, and triumphed as a unit. Our goal was to save every American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine that was carried through our doors, regardless of any horrific injury they had endured, and we eventually left with a 96% survival rate. We were their safety net; their shelter when things went wrong. Our team of thirty or so members cared for thousands of American soldiers, state department personnel, contractors, and Iraqi’s alike. We were the first American military hospital to be directly targeted by the enemy since the Vietnam War, and we endured more direct hits by enemy rockets and mortars than any Army hospital since that time as well.
Baghdad ER will appeal to:
-Military history buffs who enjoy learning about units at war. The combat stories and conditions will peak their curiosity, and they will discover the world that awaits the American military personnel once they have been wounded on the field of battle.
-Those interested in the medical field. Care for hundreds of critically wounded patients is detailed step by step. Chaos ensues time after time as multitudes of gravely wounded people are carried through the doors into our lives every day. Medical procedures are detailed in graphic nature. The scenes of our teams attempting to put these heroes back together and get them home alive occur on a daily basis, throughout the book.
-Anyone interested in the Iraq War. Multiple major players on the world stage are encountered throughout the memoir, including President Obama, GEN Petreaus, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Malaki, and many others.
-Anyone who enjoys a good story. Despite enduring fifteen months of death and destruction on a daily basis; despite witnessing many of the evil deeds that one human being could do to another, we managed to have fun. Water balloon fights led to ATV jaunts. Combatives with plastic bats fights led to practical jokes on each other. Baghdad ER is a modern day story of the movie MASH” complete with our smoking robes and martini glasses.
Baghdad ER will be the first and only literary work available to reach to readers and show them first hand the world of combat medicine in the world’s premiere trauma hospital. Readers from all walks of life and with many different interests will laugh and cry with the soldiers of the 86th CSH EMT as they see combat casualty care through our eyes. They will see first hand the struggle our men and women in uniform endure when they have been wounded in battle in the streets of Iraq. Every reader will feel a renewed sense of pride and honor anytime they look into a combat veteran’s eyes.
Dr. Todd Baker received a Bachelor of Science degree from Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, AR) in 1998 and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, AR) in 2001. He then re-located to Ft. Hood, TX to begin a three-year Emergency Medicine Residency. Graduating in 2004, Dr. Baker then was stationed at Ft. Polk, LA, where he became the Regimental Surgeon for the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Quickly transitioning up to Ft. Lewis, WA four months later, he helped guide the medical footprint of the four-thousand soldier unit into one of the Army’s new Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. In June of 2006, Dr. Baker joined the medical staff of Madigan Army Medical Center, where he served as an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine for the University of Washington.
In September, 2007, he traveled to Ft. Campbell, KY to join the 86th Combat Support Hospital, or CSH, for its fifteen month tour in Iraq. Dr. Baker served as the Chief of Emergency Medicine, Ibn Sina Hosptial, “Baghdad ER,” for the entire fifteen-month tour of the 86th CSH. He also served as the Theater Consultant to the Surgeon General for Emergency Medicine for the last ten months of his tour. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq
During Dr. Baker’s seven plus years serving in the Army, he was published in multiple medical journals, to include Annals of Emergency Medicine and EM Clinics of North America. While in Iraq, he was interviewed by the German periodical, Der Spiegel, was focused in an amazing photograph taken by AP Photographer Maya Alleruzzo that was published in newspapers nationwide, and focused in an article in the University of Arkansas Medicine Alumni Magazine. He was selected as the Department of Emergency Medicine’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2007 by the residents training at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Dr. Baker’s academic interests focus on emergency ultrasound techniques and trauma resuscitation, and he was instrumental in updating the medical ultrasound systems used in all combat support hospitals throughout Iraq. Dr. Baker has taught hundreds of physicians from all specialty backgrounds emergency trauma ultrasound techniques, including speaking at both regional and national conferences nationwide. Separating from the military in March, 2009, he has continued educating others by teaching multiple ultrasound courses across American, to both military and civilian medical providers alike.
Since his separation from the military, Dr. Baker has re-located to Branson, MO, where he is currently serving as Co-Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Skaggs Regional Medical Center. He continues to travel and teach trauma ultrasound techniques and trauma resuscitation courses nationwide.
Dr. Baker has been featured in several publications including ACEP News, EM News, Internal Medicine News, and Branson Tri-Lakes Weekly, as well as local radio and television programs. He will be filming a national television program on one of his experiences from “Baghdad ER” in September of 2011.