How was the medicine at LMRC

politics : "We can handle almost anything"

Now the war has also reached Germany. On Monday, the first soldiers injured in Iraq arrived at the Ramstein air force base in the Palatinate and are being treated in the Landstuhl military hospital a few kilometers away. There you are "really prepared for anything," assured press spokeswoman Marie Shaw.

The name of the hospital, which is embedded in the forest on a hill above the town of Ramstein with a population of 9,000, does not do justice to the importance of this hospital: “Landstuhl Regional Medical Center”. That sounds small and nice. The center is the largest US military hospital outside America and a medical center for the US Army in Europe.

According to the press secretary, in peacetime it is responsible for approximately 300,000 people, including 82,000 US soldiers and their family members as well as administrative and embassy staff. A total of 160 beds are usually available. In times of war the number is doubled. 120 doctors and 250 nurses care for the patients. Together with the medical staff and civilian employees, almost 2,000 people work in the complex on the Kirchberg, including 250 Germans. In a new department, a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist and a clergyman look after traumatized patients.

In the event of war, this hospital plays the central role in the treatment of seriously injured soldiers. During the Gulf War in 1991, more than 4,000 wounded were given medical care there. So far, more than 1700 patients have been transported to Landstuhl from Afghanistan. 100 Bosnians who were wounded in a bomb attack on the market square in Sarajevo in 1994 were also cared for there.

No wonder, then, when the hospital press officer, when asked about her feelings about the arrival of the Iraqi wounded, replied: “We have already been through a lot. We are used to that. We are trained. ”The hospital is also prepared for the admission of poison gas victims or victims of biological attacks.

All medical specialties are represented in the US-Hospital Landstuhl. State-of-the-art telemedicine equipment also enables remote diagnoses in the USA in next to no time. "We can handle almost anything," says Mary Shaw. At most, when things get very difficult, for example in the case of complicated microsurgical interventions or the most severe burn injuries, patients are referred to special hospitals. For example, victims of the bomb attack in Kenya who were injured by broken glass came to the nearby Homburg University Eye Clinic.

The Landstuhl city officials describe the relationship with the military hospital as excellent, both personally and professionally. The residents feel for the soldiers these days and fear for them when helicopters fly from Ramstein to Kirchberg to unload the seriously injured. In exceptional situations like the 1988 catastrophe on the Ramstein Airbase, the US Medical Center is also ready to accept German patients.

The hospital has existed on the Kirchberg since 1953. Some of the buildings have a dark past - as an elite school built by the Nazis. After the occupation of Landstuhl, the American military began to convert the old walls into a hospital. The first patients were treated in March 1953.

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