..........Spc. Matthew Mortensen. Shot by sniper, US Army medic treats himself.
BAGHDAD — "I was probably two feet from my door of my truck when I heard gun fire and it felt like someone just cracked me in the right shoulder blade with a hammer," said Spc. Matthew Mortensen, of Olathe, Kan.
The combat medic with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, was part of a patrol conducting a neighborhood search, Dec. 10, in an area historically known for hidden weapons, rockets and mortars.
As the patrol walked the streets, a mounted element went from check point to check point providing security for them. Having reached the last check point, Staff Sgt. Manoj Prasad, of Watertown, N.Y., and Mortensen dismounted to maneuver the trucks into a static security posture, when shots were fired.
"I saw a bullet hole in his shirt, and when I cut it open all I could see was blood," said Prasad. "I looked for an exit wound and couldn't find one."
Being the medic on scene, Mortensen provided first aid care to himself after he was injured until he reached the Joint Security Station Loyalty aid station. Combat medics are responsible for providing first aid and frontline trauma care on the battlefield to wounded Soldiers.
"After I was shot, I had my platoon sergeant examine for a wound and he found one on my right shoulder blade," said Mortensen. "Then I jumped into the truck, threw off my kit because I couldn't reach my right side with my kit on. After I took it off, I started cleaning up some of the blood with gauze then I used the package for the gauze and created a pressure dressing over the wound just in case it penetrated my chest cavity. I didn't know what happened to the bullet so that was the only thing I was really worried about"
After the initial treatment, Mortensen was medically evacuated to another JSS. Mortensen kept his composure throughout the event and was able to provide Prasad with the proper medevac procedures for entering the JSS.
The day following the incident, Mortensen was awarded a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical Badge while he was in the hospital at Victory Base Complex.
Mortensen was sent back to the United States for rehabilitation and recuperation. After spending a month back in the States, he anticipates he will return to his platoon in Iraq sometime in February.
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