When people find out that I used to be an Army combat medic, they tend to say something like, “So if I get hurt you can fix me, right?” And my response, usually delivered with a touch of dark humor, is always something to the effect of, “No fucking way.”
I don’t say that because my medical skills are rusty, which they are, but because there’s a certain poise I’ve lost since leaving the military. I was a combat medic — a pretty good one, too. Now, I can barely make it through a war movie without the aid of a few Bud Light tall boys.
Being a medic is about more than simply having the ability to effectively apply a tourniquet, administer an IV, or stuff a wound. It’s a cockiness. An attitude. A mentality that bears an exceptional tolerance for gore and human suffering. It’s also, to some extent, a willingness to die. Because when the shit hits the fan, it’s the medic who’s expected to run headlong into the blades.
And that’s precisely what director Harry Sanna sought to capture in his upcoming documentary. The film, aptly titled “Trauma,” centers around a U.S. Army medevac unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Filmed over the course of several weeks, and including additional footage from the years Sanna spent covering the war as a journalist, “Trauma” offers a rare window into the insane world of combat medicine.
“The reason for making this film is to offer civilian audience an unfiltered glimpse at what it’s like to be a medic at war,” Ryan Cunningham, the film’s producer, told Task & Purpose. “It’s also about their individual journeys home, where struggles with PTSD and the other effects of war are very real.”
With the film currently in post-production, the filmmakers have turned to Kickstarter to raise the funds necessary to complete the project. I am, of course, biased toward anything that even vaguely resembles my war experience, but to someone who lived this stuff, “Trauma” looks like the real deal.
I might need more than a few tall boys for this one.
An extended version of the trailer is available here.