Produced and directed by 11-time Emmy? Award-winner Jon Alpert, this 64-minute verite documentary takes an unforgettable look inside the 86th Combat Support Hospital (CSH), the U.S. Army?s premier medical facility in Iraq ... more »and former site of one of Saddam Hussein?s elite medical facilities. Shot over two months in the summer of 2005, the film puts a human face on the war?s cold casualty statistics, as doctors and nurses fight to save the lives of wounded soldiers who are Medevaced (helicoptered) in a numbingly routine basis.« less
"I am a physician in the Army and have worked in this facility during OIF. This film is graphic but nowhere near as graphic as it could be. It is quite uplifting and moving. It is also very tastefully done and not in the least exploitative considering the subject matter. It made me very proud of the job we do. It should be seen by everyone."
This is what the media will not show
Clownfish | Worldwide | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Combat medicine is not for the squeamish. It's a group of normal medical personnel doing extraordinary things in the worse conditions. This film,. while very short on time, showcases the reality of war. While the media mentions how many were killed in an attack, they fail to bring home the reality that many more are wounded in devastating ways. If more people would understand what combat wounds look like, I think there would be less enthusiasm for war.
The film is a "fly on the wall" look at a combat care facility in Baghdad. The voices in the movie are not actors.. there is no narration. You get to watch and listen to what's happening and engross yourself as if you were truly there. I spent two years in the military training ordinary medical personnel to work in these facilities and I can assure you that this film is about as graphic and in-your-face as you will want to see. As the previous reviewer stated, it could have shown a lot worse, but it's not necessary. There is enough here to make a lasting impression.
While the film focuses mainly on the ER (as the title suggests), it would have been nice to show a bit more of the other personnel who make this system work. The field medics, the ancillary services, the public health and a whole host of other people who donate a portion of their lives, and a larger portion of their heart to saving lives for their country. But with the 1 hour time limit, the producers managed to give you a quick glimpse into a scene very few have seen, and even fewer will ever want to. I highly recommend everyone watch it, and if it tugs at your heart, then the point of the film has been made. "
Humberto Figueroa | 01/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My name is unimportant, and the name of my medics are unimportant too. Me and the NCOIC of the E.R. featured in this documentary are responsible for the actions taken by medics in this film. People talk a lot about doctors and nurses. In the military, medics are the ones who make things happen. There are no nurses or doctors patrolling downtown Baghdad with an infantry platoon. Those medics out there reacted and took care of their fellow soldiers. Seeing that they needed additional medical care they sent them to us. The 86th CSH.
I'm not the political type and I don't care what people say out there. I just do my job and I think I do it well. I was tasked to train my medics in traumatic emergency medicine, ensure that they knew their job and that the E.R. ran smoothly. We worked around the clock, two 12 hours shifts, no days off, trying to save every Soldier's life. Not only our Soldiers but anybody injured. I called my guys the silent and unseen angels. Why? A lot of the Soldiers who came through our doors never saw us or knew who we were. Simply because we treated them, then they went to the O.R. and then they were shipped to Germany. Baghdad E.R. shows what we did for our Soldiers.
I'm proud of the soldiers I worked with and the hard work and sacrifices they went through during that year long deployment in Iraq. Not to brag about ourselves but we had the best trauma team worlwide. After our deployment ended we learned that the survivability was close to 95%. Unfortunately now I work in a clinic and I'm not allowed to go back to Iraq where I know I can be more efficient and would be able to take care of our wounded.
But this film is the best HBO can portray of what we did.
I dedicate this film to all those who we treated and their families. God Bless."
They make me proud
summers done | lexington Ky. | 11/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I fulfilled my Army obligation entirely with this hospital. This unit does provide incredible care to our Armed Forces. I believe the most amazing thing one should take away from this film is the great spirit that the wounded display. Thanks HBO for covering this great unit and all of those who care for our military."
Just Another Marine Mom | Northern Indiana | 11/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had the privilege of viewing this documentary in the company of a roomful of Marine parents at a national conference this past summer, including the mother of one of the young men who didn't survive the injuries he sustained. There wasn't a dry eye in the auditorium. One of the directors, Matthew O'Neill, was available for questions and while we were composing ourselves, he explained that the purpose of this documentary was pretty much to present a non-political film about the workings of a Army hospital in the middle of a war zone and to also show the compassion and skill of the nurses and doctors that were on duty and who cared for our sons and daughters. You also see that most times, the wounded are more concerned about their buddies who were with them than their own injuries. This film is graphic and there were times when I had to look away from the screen but we were told that they had toned it down considerably, but couldn't do more without losing the reality of the specific situations they filmed. The mother of the marine that didn't make it spoke of how she came to meet the director and through doing so and viewing footage of her son's final moments, it gave her closure which she hadn't felt before. No matter what you think about the Iraq situation, I doubt this film will alter your opinion either way, but it will give you a sense of "being there" and some empathy for the medical personnel that care for our military wounded. It also gives you the understanding that it doesn't matter if the wounded are ours, theirs or the enemy - they are all treated with human dignity and if they can, they will save a life. Well done. "