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Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq by…
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Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq

by Chris Coppola

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Paraphrasing my older review that was deleted: It was fascinating to learn about the experience of treating children during wartime, but I was extremely turned off by the politics and patriotism that seeped constantly into the author's tone throughout the book. ( )
  HapaxLegomenon | Nov 20, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Great read. Coppola does not seem to express any particular political slant one way or another, instead focusing on the patients. It is very vivid and detailed with the medical descriptions, but also very moving. ( )
  yankeesfan1 | Nov 14, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I cried. Any book that can bring me tears is a book I will highly recommend. As a pediatric cancer survivor, tales like this bring it close to home. The journalistic style helps that as well. A treasure. ( )
1 vote Maggie_Rum | Oct 9, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 2005, Air Force reservist and pediatric surgeon Chris Coppola was deployed to Iraq to serve in a hospital treating injured troops. Soon after arrival, however, “mission creep” turned the hospital into a place for treating injured civilians as well, including children. Before long, Dr. Coppola is known as the man who will help Iraqi children, even if their illnesses have nothing to do with the war. As a memoir, this reads like a journal, not a polished literary effort. Nevertheless, it has merit for what it provides of the “on-the-ground” view of the war in Iraq. Coppola is not decidedly for or against the war, so he provides a balanced and fair look at the events he sees. The personal photographs and illustrations included throughout the book are a nice added touch. Do be warned however, this book is not for the squeamish when it comes to talking about medical procedures and emergency trauma. Also be aware that there is a lot of military jargon used throughout, which may be off-putting to some, although I found that Coppola mostly made a point to define military speak into civilian language. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Aug 24, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a wonderfully inspirational story. Thank you, Dr. Coppola, for sharing your adventures and your heartaches. And thank you for your service to our country and to the children of Iraq! ( )
  coloradoreader | Apr 5, 2010 |
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Epigraph
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. –Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
Dedication
Dear sweet Meredith, every day by your side amazes me that I can be so lucky. Ti Amo.
First words
I wear my desert camouflage uniform, the creases still crisp from the alteration and pressing shop where my medical unit insignia and major’s rank were sewn on.
Quotations
Each time I speak with Meredith, I make sure our closing words are ones I would be happy with as the last thing she hears from me.
As a team we feel like a failure whenever we lose a patient who arrives at our hospital alive. We gave this enemy the same care we give our troops, we did everything in our power to keep him breathing. But he was on a mission to kill my countrymen and may have succeeded if he were still alive. How am I supposed to comprehend his death when my duty as a doctor to heal contradicts my duty as an officer to defend?
These men died with that red, white, and blue sewn to their uniforms. All we do while deployed, our every breath up till the last one, is for that flag.
… our facility experienced “mission creep” because of the presence of injured civilians, including children.
... there is no end in sight to the flow of injured and traumatized children rushing through the hospital doors.

I write because I cannot sleep at night. Even if my words here are never read, I’m a step better for having let it out. I may not be making any difference being here with what I do and say, but the fact remains that I am here. I don’t want these moments to be forgotten. The world should know. I see people live and die in this struggle, and even when they are gone forever it matters that they were here. I was here too. I saw it. I bore witness to these events; tragic, life-changing events for these unknown people in a hidden little corner of the world.
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