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Manas medical team helps save Peace Corps sister
Jamie Morris, a Peace Corps volunteer, before a car crash in Kyrgyzstan Jan. 18, 2010, that killed two passengers and left her badly injured. She was she was driven five hours by ambulance during white-out conditions to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where the U.S. Air Force provided medical care and air evacuation to the United States via Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, and Germany. (Courtesy photo)
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Manas medical teams helps save Peace Corps sister

Posted 2/1/2010   Updated 2/1/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Carolyn Viss
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


2/1/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Jan. 18, 2010, was a snowy day in Central Asia. Ms. Jamie Morris, a female Peace Corps volunteer assigned to a village in Kazakhstan, was traveling in a taxi with two other passengers when their vehicle was hit by a truck, killing the others and leaving her with severe head injuries.

Leadership at the Transit Center at Manas, U.S. Embassy Bishkek, and Peace Corps worked throughout the day to coordinate on site medical care and evacuation. There was no way to treat Jamie there, and no way to fly her out, so she was driven five hours by ambulance during white-out conditions to the Transit Center, where the U.S. Air Force was waiting to help.

"Our (brand new) team led by Col. Jerry Flyer went to work immediately to save her," said Col. Blaine Holt, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "Although weather kept the teams and aeromedical evacuation team from reaching us until early morning, they kept the badly wounded patient stable."

The entire 376th Expeditionary Medical Group worked together to warm the patient, start an IV and oxygen lines, ensuring the volunteer was stabilized and ready for air travel, said Colonel Flyer, the 376th EMDG commander and general surgeon.

"She arrived about 11 p.m. and left about 5 a.m.," he said. "Everybody was involved. There wasn't a single person who wasn't in some way helping, whether directly or indirectly, from logistics to the bio equipment repair person - it was a total team effort."

"She was back in the United States by Thursday morning, which is an incredible tribute to our entire air evac system," Colonel Flyer said. "It was a privilege to be part of it."

The Transit Center's new C-17 detachment carried her to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's medical and flying teams were ready and waiting.

"While we were speaking with the doctor, the critical care team (U.S. military) was circling in a plane, trying to land to pick her up," said Lailah Morris, Jamie's sister-in-law, in a blog post Jan. 19. "They are waiting for the fog to clear out a bit before they can land."

Family, friends and colleagues from around the world are checking in to get updates and wish Jamie and family well.

With the U.S. military taking over all of the medical efforts, Jamie was transported to the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and eventually to George Washington University Hospital.

"It's a good feeling to be able to use your knowledge, experience, and training and apply that to actually help somebody who's injured and return them to their family," Colonel Flyer said.

"There were many Airmen along the way, including friends of the family, [colonels] from [U.S. Army Garrison] Garmisch, who were aiding the family," Colonel Holt said. "It's a great account of the whole team, whether Interagency, U.S. Air Forces Central, or Air Mobility Command working together. We are all optimistic here that Jamie will win this fight."

"The U.S. Air Force pulled out all the stops for Jamie," said her mother, Kathy, in an open letter on the blog. "We are staggered by their service for one Peace Corps volunteer. We have always held our U.S. military forces in high regard, but that admiration and respect has increased a thousand-fold since Monday... They are an incredible group of men and women.

"The doctors have told us that Jamie is responding to our voices and our touch. We pray and pray and pray over her and tirelessly read scripture to her. Our Jamie is a fighter, and so are we, and so are you. God bless you all. I love you."

Jamie inspired everyone by enduring the long trip from Central Asia to Germany and then back to the United States. There is encouraging news daily about the progress of this amazing Peace Corps volunteer, hero, and example to us all at http://lailahrafik.blogspot.com/.



tabComments
2/10/2010 9:31:46 AM ET
Great work by the Liberando Medics and airlifters who went above and beyond on behalf of this dedicated Peace Corps member and her family. Kudos to all.
Gerry Caron, Randolph AFB
 
2/3/2010 1:13:44 AM ET
Im glad to hear that she is responding to voices and touch. I am emailing for all of us medics here in the Emergency roomtrauma here at Bagram that took care of here when she arrived. We wish her all the best and its always nice to hear something positive about patients that we take care of here.
Tsgt Lyndsey Leffel, Bagram
 
2/2/2010 4:14:21 PM ET
Jamie is the daughter of two wonderful friends of ours. Thank you so much to all who helped and prayed God is watching over Jamie. Thank you for caring deeply for others. Sidney and Joe
Sidney, California
 
2/2/2010 2:26:12 AM ET
I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in Shymkent Kazakhstan. Jamie is one of my best friends and I want to thank everyone who helped her for the amazing job they did stabilizing her and getting her back to the US. I can't put into words how thankful I am that we have people such as yourselves that have our back. Thanks again and God bless.
Joseph Mizener, Shymkent Kazakhstan
 
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