What are the rules in hell?

4th May 2011 by Judith Harvey

Blood and Dust is a 30 minute video made in 2010 by former soldier and now independent video journalist (and sustainable farmer), Vaughan Smith, about the work of a US Army air ambulance medivac team in Afghanistan.


Paramedics scramble out of a helicopter into a cloud of dust, clutching a stretcher. They re-emerge bearing a desperately injured marine. As the chopper swings into the air the paramedics have already started the life-saving protocol. In military medicine before ABC comes another C – control of the principal killer, catastrophic bleeding. The marine’s body is a ‘container’ and they have to make good the fluid lost when an IED blew off the ‘container’s’ legs. In the shuddering helicopter, shouting instructions and information over the din, the team members, bulky with the clobber all soldiers wear under fire, insert lines into flat blood vessels. And I, as a new house officer, worried whether I could get a Venflon into a patient I was escorting on the night train from Truro to London!

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