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01-13-09, 10:24 PM #1
Surgeon General Nominee Saved Marine in Baghdad
Surgeon general nominee saved Marine
Gupta operated on man declared dead twice in Baghdad
By Susan Abram
2:00 a.m. January 11, 2009
LOS ANGELES — Some critics call Dr. Sanjay Gupta a media darling, heavy on television charm but light on qualifications to become the nation's next surgeon general.
But former U.S. Marine Jesus Vidana of Sun Valley has no qualms about the neurosurgeon, author and medical corres-pondent for CNN taking the post. Gupta, 39, was offered the position last week by President-elect Barack Obama.
Gupta saved Vidana's life during emergency surgery in Iraq in 2003 after the young Marine was shot in the head and twice declared dead.
That is, before Gupta got to work on him.
“He's not just a TV personality,” said Vidana, 30. “He invested in my recovery. I think he's more than qualified.”
By now, the story of how Gupta saved Vidana's life has become part of modern war lore – a story of life, death and quick thinking on the battlefield.
It was April 8, 2003, the day before Saddam Hussein's bronze statue in Baghdad was toppled and slapped with shoes by children. It was Vidana's first day in the city. The sound of machine gun rounds crackled through the air.
Vidana, a radio operator, was relaying orders from his commander when a bullet pierced his helmet.
Commotion ensued. Marines tried to revive him; a medic declared him dead.
“I remember the day well,” Gupta wrote in 2007. “He was twice pronounced dead in the field – once immediately at the scene and then again on a follow-up examination. But, deep inside his chest, his heart was still faintly beating, so weakly that he didn't even have a pulse.
“Jesus Vidana was still alive, but dying.”
Gupta was working on a story about Navy medics for CNN. In a tent in the desert, known in military-speak as a “forward resuscitative surgical suite,” Gupta switched from reporter to doctor, grabbed a drill bit and went to work.
“Shortly thereafter, I was removing a bullet from his brain. Within an hour, Jesus had been treated, operated on and was recovering just outside the operating room.”
“It's still kind of surprising,” Vidana said. “If he wasn't there reporting, I wouldn't be here.”
If he is confirmed as surgeon general, Gupta would replace Steven Galson and would act as the chief health educator working on national issues such as obesity, smoking and diabetes.
On Thursday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., opposed Gupta as the next surgeon general, saying he lacks experience.
In addition to his work on CNN, Gupta is a member of the staff and faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and regularly performs surgery at Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital, where he serves as associate chief of neurosurgery, according to his biography on CNN.
Since Gupta saved his life, Vidana earned his license in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California. A Purple Heart recipient, he wants to earn a master's degree in business administration and work on health care reform. In the meantime, Vidana has given some lectures and is continuing to recover.
“I consider him a friend,” Vidana said of Gupta. The two e-mail one another and ask about each other's families. “He's done a lot for me.”Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
or otherwise distort statements of fact.FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley
01-13-09, 11:09 PM #2
Much better than Jocelyn Elders.Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
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