Medicine on the Edge of Darkness

J Spec Oper Med. 2018 Spring;18(1):150-154. doi: 10.55460/XZJX-1FR7.


Austere care of the wounded is challenging for all Western medical professionals-nurse, medic, or physician. There can be no doubt that working for the first time, either for a nongovernment organization or in the Special Forces, you will be taking care of wounded patients outside your training and experience. You must have the ability to adapt to and overcome lack of resources and equipment, and accept standards of treatment often very different and lower than that common in western hospitals. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was asked to provide relief for the Pakistan Red Crescent in 1982 and set up the ICRC Hospital for Afghan War Wounded in Peshawar on the border to Afghanistan. This article relates how a western-trained young anesthetist on a ICRC surgical team experienced this, at the time, austere environment.

Publication types

  • Personal Narrative

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology*
  • Anesthetics / supply & distribution*
  • Equipment and Supplies, Hospital / supply & distribution*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Pakistan
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Red Cross
  • War-Related Injuries / therapy*


  • Anesthetics