06/23/2010 11:24 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Heidi Kraft: Rule Number Two - Lessons learned at a combat hospital

Rulenumbertwo-cover01 You remember MASH from TV, and maybe China Beach. This is really the real deal.

There are two rules of war.

Rule number one is that young men die.

Rule number two is that doctors can't change rule
number one.

              --M*A*S*H: TV show

Heidi was deployed to Iraq in February 2004, for seven months with a Marine Corps surgical company, when her boy and girl twins were fifteen months old. More on her site.

A clinical psychologist in the US Navy, Kraft's job was to uncover the wounds of war that a surgeon would never see. She put away thoughts of her children back home, acclimated to the sound of incoming rockets, and learned how to listen to the most traumatic stories a war
zone has to offer.

I recently saw her speak very movingly at The Brain at War just held in SF, the focus on veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The conference points out:

"Many have served multiple tours - increasing their chances of
post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression, and suicidal
thoughts, among other injuries and conditions."

From hearing her, I recommend her book, Rule Number Two.