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4
Doing Their Jobs Under Fire

All the training in the world doesn't prepare someone for real combat. Even in live-fire exercises, part of your mind always knows those bullets aren't really aimed at you. As a medic, your job is to find people who are in a dangerous area, get them to safety and try to save their lives. Focusing on this while knowing someone on the other side is aiming at you is no easy feat, but is critical to accomplish when the wounded soldier's life is in immediate risk.

Hemorrhaging and the resultant loss of blood is the leading cause of battlefield death, and it can happen in a matter of seconds or minutes, depending on the severity of the wound. It's estimated that more than 2,500 lives could've been saved had proper treatment reached them in time to stop the bleeding. That's why the first objective is to provide any tourniquets needed even before pulling a wounded soldier to safety. Being able to concentrate on performing this kind of lifesaving service while being shot at is a huge psychological challenge for any medic [source: U.S. Army].

Even with the wounded soldier pulled to relative safety, the challenges are just beginning.

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