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Army Medic Treats Himself After Sniper Shot

Army Medic Treats Himself After Sniper Shot

After being shot by enemy sniper, US Army Medic Spc. Matthew Mortensen treats himself.

The main role of a combat medic is provide first aid and frontline trauma care for the platoon. But what happens when the medic himself is injured? In Spc. Mortensen’s case, he treated himself.

A medic with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Spc. Matthew Mortensen, of Olathe, Kan. was part of a patrol conducting a neighborhood search, Dec. 10, in an area well known for hidden weapons, rockets and mortars.

Medic Matthew Mortensen

As the patrol walked the streets, a mounted element went from check point to check point providing security for them. Having reached the last check point, Staff Sgt. Manoj Prasad, of Watertown, N.Y., and Mortensen dismounted to maneuver the trucks into a static security posture, when shots were fired.

“I was probably two feet from my door of my truck when I heard gun fire and it felt like someone just cracked me in the right shoulder blade with a hammer,”

“I saw a bullet hole in his shirt, and when I cut it open all I could see was blood,” said Prasad. “I looked for an exit wound and couldn’t find one.”

Being the only medic on scene, Mortensen provided first aid care to himself before reaching the Joint Security Station Loyalty aid station.

“After I was shot, I had my platoon sergeant examine for a wound and he found one on my right shoulder blade. Then I jumped into the truck, threw off my kit because I couldn’t reach my right side with my kit on. After I took it off, I started cleaning up some of the blood with gauze then I used the package for the gauze and created a pressure dressing over the wound just in case it penetrated my chest cavity. I didn’t know what happened to the bullet so that was the only thing I was really worried about”

After the initial treatment, Mortensen was medically evacuated to another JSS. Mortensen kept his composure throughout the event and was able to provide Prasad with the proper medevac procedures for entering the JSS.

The day following the incident, Mortensen was awarded a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge while he was in the hospital at Victory Base Complex.

Mortensen was sent back to the United States for rehabilitation and recuperation. After spending a month back in the States, he anticipates he will return to his platoon in Iraq sometime in February.

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