Peering Inside the Patient

The 506th Expeditionary Medical Squadron at Kirkuk AB, Iraq, recently added a computed tomography scanner to its arsenal of life-saving equipment. With it, medical personnel will be able to ascertain at the base what is occurring within a patient’s body without having to cut them open. This is not as easy with traditional X-ray machines. “Sometimes we’ll have a patient who is pretty stable, and we’re not exactly sure they are bleeding,” said Maj. Loyal Stierlen, a general surgeon with the unit, who is deployed from Tinker AFB, Okla. “With the CT scanner, we’ll be better able to observe if they’re bleeding internally so we can perform the appropriate operations in a timely manner.” In the past, such patients had to be transferred off-base for diagnosis. The machine cost about $700,000. (Kirkuk report by SrA. Eric Schloeffel)