The 8th FST (Forward Surgical Team) trauma centre is the US army's busiest emergency room in Eastern Afghanistan. Located on a dusty, remote military base called FOB Shank in the heart of Logar Province, the FST unit - consisting of five medics, five nurses, four technicians and two chief surgeons - treat anyone seeking medical attention including US troops, Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan civilians. As medevac blackhawk helicopters leave the base to pick up casualties, the clinic's gurneys continue to fill with patients, which include US soldiers injured in IED explosions, Afghan soldiers with gunshot wounds, and even wounded Taliban insurgents. It is typical to find over 30 medical personnel in the tent, working frantically to stop arterial bleeding, move patients in to the surgery theatre and simply comfort those in pain. Captain Michelle Racicot, the FST's Emergency Room RN, describes her job as "tough and busy", explaining that the staff often work through the night in order to treat the wounded and sustain life. During their five-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2009, the 8th FST treated over 400 patient cases. "This job is the most challenging I have ever had because of the reality of the situations we run across, but it is also the most rewarding," Racicot says.
Behind The Frontlines