Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Some interesting information about General Petraeus in Peggy Noonan's most recent column. First, his background:
Gen. Petraeus graduated from West Point in 1974, 10th in his class, and his career has been the very model of the new Army: a master's in public administration, Ph.D. in the lessons of Vietnam, a fellowship in foreign affairs at Georgetown. Wrote the book, literally, on counterterrorism. Ten months in Bosnia. Time in Kuwait. Fought in Iraq, in Karbala, Hilla and Najaf, and became known and admired for rebuilding and administrating Mosul.
Second, this incident where a doctor saved his life from a gunshot wound.
It happened on Sept. 21, 1991. A soldier tripped on his M-16, and it discharged. The bullet hit Gen. Petraeus in the chest. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. A local surgeon got beeped and called in. [Gen. Patraeus] had lost a lot of blood, was pale, and was losing more.
The surgeon had to decide whether to open Gen. Petraeus up right away or stabilize him. The general was conscious, so the surgeon said, "Listen, I gotta make a decision about whether to take you straight to surgery or stabilize you first, give you blood." Gen. Petraeus looked up at the surgeon and said, "Don't waste any time. Get it done. Let's get on with it." "That's unusual", the surgeon told me. "Usually patients want to stabilize, wait." This one wanted to move.
At this point I'll note that the surgeon that day 16 years ago was Dr. Bill Frist, who later became Sen. Frist, and then Majority Leader Frist. He had never met Gen. Petraeus before.
Dr. Frist got Gen. Petraeus to the third-floor operating room, opened his chest, removed a flattened bullet that had torn through the top of a lung, stopped the hemorrhaging, took out part of a lung. The operation was successful.