January 2, 2012
Dr. Kenneth Cherry is a professor and Vascular Surgeon at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, but for two weeks for the past couple of years he has volunteered with the Society for Vascular Surgery.
Surgeons from all over the country come to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to treat wounded American soldiers, mostly those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The trauma that's coming out of there is different than in other wars because of the body armor and the IED's that the Afghans use," said Dr. Cherry. "The troops get spine injuries, compression fractures of their spine that they get from when the large IED's lift up the Humvees and throw them up 3-4 floors."
Dr. Cherry and the rest of the team meet to review cases and evaluate injuries, deciding the best treatment.
"As an example for a vascular case, someone would take a projectile in the arm and it would have damaged the artery most usually with a piece of vein from somewhere (usually from the leg)," said Dr. Cherry.
In some cases, with surgery, Cherry and his team have been able to prevent soldiers from losing one or even all of their limbs.
Dr. Cherry says he doesn't consider himself a hero, he says the real heroes are the troops fighting for our country everyday.