After a life-altering injury in Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Christian Labra, MD, FAAFP, found himself on the other side of the Military Health System, navigating treatment and recovery as a patient. In this eye-opening conversation, Dr. Labra shares his first-hand experiences of evacuation, treatment in a war zone, and the challenges and triumphs he encountered along the way. Join us as he opens up about his journey and how it ultimately inspired him to pursue a medical career.
From the point of injury to rehabilitation, Dr. Labra's story highlights the incredible work of healthcare professionals in difficult situations, as well as the importance of advocacy and understanding for patients within the Military Health System. As a family physician, he shares how his time as a patient influenced his approach to practicing medicine and the role primary care physicians play in advocating for their patients and providing continuity of care.
Don't miss out on this unique perspective from a physician who has experienced both sides of the Military Healthcare System. Dr. Labra's experience offers invaluable insights into the challenges faced by patients and healthcare providers in a war zone and how his journey has shaped his approach to medicine. Tune in to hear his inspiring story and learn more about the importance of patient advocacy and continuity of care.
(0:00:00) - Combat Experience and Military Healthcare
(0:03:57) - Military Health Care and Deployment Injuries
(0:11:33) - War Zone Evacuation and Medical Care
(0:19:19) - Injury Treatment and Recovery Experience
(0:30:26) - From Warfighter to Doctor
(0:36:41) - Career in Military Medicine
(0:00:00) - Combat Experience and Military Healthcare (4 Minutes)
We welcome LTC Christian Labra MD, FAAFP to WarDocs to discuss his unique experience of encountering the Military Health System as a patient when he was injured as a Field Artillery officer on a patrol in Iraq. We hear about his care from the point of injury through evacuation to treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation, and how this experience led him to pursue a career in medicine and impacted his perspective and caring for Wounded Warriors. We also discuss how his journey to joining the Army and how the world changed after 9-11 impacted his career.
(0:03:57) - Military Health Care and Deployment Injuries (8 Minutes)
Dr. Labra's experience with the Military began at West Point and continued on active duty. He was assigned to a Field Artillery battalion in Baumholder, Germany, and later deployed to Iraq in 2003. He shares the story of his injury while on the deployment and the circumstances that led up to it.
(0:11:33) - War Zone Evacuation and Medical Care (8 Minutes)
Dr. Labra's experience with the Military Health System as a patient is discussed. From the initial diagnosis by a medic in the field to the care he received at the Baghdad ER, the unique circumstances of his evacuation and treatment are explored. The challenges of being a patient in a war zone and the impact of the lack of pain medication and medical records are discussed. The effects of his injuries, the measures taken to treat them, and the care he received in the operating room are also discussed.
(0:19:19) - Injury Treatment and Recovery Experience (11 Minutes)
Chris shares his experience with the Military Health System as a patient. He begins with his care in Baghdad and the surgeries he had in Germany. He speaks of the kindness of healthcare workers like Parker Hahn, and Ann Shields, the labor and delivery nurse whose daughter attended West Point and helped sponsor his family, as well as his surgeon John Friedland. He reflects on his unique experience of staying at Baumholder, which was both a gift and a challenge. We explore the system's blind spots and the casualties of the process when providing medical care abroad.
(0:30:26) - From Warfighter to Doctor (6 Minutes)
Chris shares his unique experience with the Military Health System as a patient. He was called to help, giving him purpose and a sense of being helpful. A series of unfortunate events led to him becoming an expert in the medical evacuation process. His surgeon came back to Landstuhl, and he spent a month there, which opened up many opportunities for him. He felt so indebted to the Military Health System and wanted to follow in the footsteps of his mentors to pursue a career in medicine.
(0:36:41) - Career in Military Medicine (12 Minutes)
We discuss how Dr. Labra’s injury led him to pursue family medicine over orthopedic surgery or urology and the advantages of being a primary care physician when it comes to providing continuity of care and advocating for patients. He shares his perspective on PTSD, the hospital system, and how being a patient gave him a level of skepticism and protection from falling into medical traps. Finally, we discuss his assignment at Landstuhl and how it gave him a chance to take care of evacuations from the theaters of war.
Episode Keywords: Military Healthcare, Patient Advocacy, Injury Treatment, Recovery Experience, Evacuation, Wounded Warrior, War Zone, Medical Care, Primary Care Physicians, Continuity of Care, PTSD, Hospital System, Combat Experience, Deployment Injuries, West Point, Baghdad ER, Landstuhl, Orthopedic Surgery, Urology
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