The patient arrived in critical condition last month at the Bagram Air Base hospital in Afghanistan, with what American military doctors at first thought was an all too typical war injury: metal shrapnel from an improvised bomb lodged in his head.
A CAT scan showed that the piece of metal, about two and a half inches long, was probably a cartridge fragment — again, not at all unusual.
But as the patient, an Afghan soldier in his 20s, was prepared for surgery, the chief radiologist, Lt. Col. Anthony Terreri, took a closer look at the CAT scan. Stunned, he realized the object was an explosive round, primed to go off.
“It looks like we have a problem here,” he announced.
To the other, how would you like to be Major Jeffrey Rengel, USAF, the anesthesiologist who, after the evacuation of the operating room, was left to tend to the patient until the bomb squad arrived?