Embassy Baghdad General Hospital, the Spinoff – Catch It This Fall or Winter But Don’t Forget Your Kevlar

General Hospital, the only ABC soap opera still in production after January 20, 2012, will be joined by a spinoff, Embassy Baghdad General Hospital to debut in the 2011-2012 season.  While head doctors, nurses, oh, and construction crews are still to be recruited, please try your best not to get hurt over there.


Because it’s not teevee over there!  According to the OIG a “fully staffed medical facilities may not be in place by the end of the year and and will be costly to establish and sustain.[REDACTED]”

Holy mother of goat and all her crazy nephews!

So if our folks are IED’ed over there between October and December, they’re supposed to do what, go band-aid or something?

Here’s the story — by October 1, 2011, the State Department will assume full responsibility for the U.S. presence in Iraq, as DOD withdraws its remaining 50,000 troops by December 2011, based on the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement. 

But, but …. that’s only four months away —

Don’t be anxious because the embassy has plans!

Via the OIG report on Department of State Planning for the Transition to a Civilian-led Mission in Iraq Performance Evaluation, fresh from the oven:

Embassy Baghdad plans to establish a network of contractor-supported medical facilities to provide comprehensive medical care after the U.S. military’s withdrawal. A concept of operations has been developed and excess military medical equipment has been requested from DOD, but the Department is still in the contract solicitation phase (emphasis added).

Senior embassy officials told the OIG team there is a risk the embassy will not have a fully mission capable medical operation prior to the military’s departure. For example, a contractor needs to be selected; doctors, nurses, and medical technicians identified and deployed; facilities constructed; and a host of logistical operations settled.

The embassy plans to develop its own medical care operations because all but two hospitals (in Erbil) cannot be used due to security concerns or inadequate medical care.

Plans call for establishing an undetermined number of medical units to provide on-site primary and initial emergency care for general medical, surgical, orthopedic, gynecologic, and mental health conditions to personnel at embassy sites. There are also plans to set up an undetermined number of diplomatic support hospitals to provide medical/trauma care and overnight bed capabilities. The largest of the diplomatic support hospitals will be located within the U.S.-controlled area at the Baghdad International Airport. This hospital will have the staff and equipment to manage two surgical patients, as well as post-operative/intensive care to stabilize up to six patients until they can be medically evacuated.

The cost to develop and sustain medical care operations is currently unknown, but according to embassy officials, it will be considerable. Further, based on interviews with embassy management, security, and medical personnel, and review of available planning documents, the [REDACTED]

Although embassy medical plans do not currently include the capability for handling a mass casualty event, embassy officials stated that even the U.S. military’s current combat support hospital can be overwhelmed by a large number of casualties. The embassy won’t have the resources that are currently available at the military’s hospital; however, embassy officials stated that they are developing scenarios and will continue to explore possibilities for mitigating the impact of a mass casualty event, such as moving surgeons, employing fixed wing embassy planes, utilizing a civilian air ambulance service, or calling upon possible military resources to transport casualties to advanced trauma care facilities in Amman, Europe, or the Gulf.

I have friends deploying to Iraq this summer.  I can’t understand why we continue sending unarmed civilians over there to do “reconstruction.” And even if I can convince part of my brain as to the reason we’re sending unarmed civilians over there to do “reconstruction,” I still can’t understand why this is coming down the wires with four months to go. 

Can you imagine sending our soldiers to battle without a fully functional medical support nearby?  Nope, I can’t. But apparently, it is perfectly imaginable and doable to send our diplomats and civilians to a hot zone without the same support. 

But wait, combat operation is over in Iraq. Right, except that they’re still shooting folks over there and bombs are still going off everywhere.

May I puke perfectly now?