The Combat Doctor
A Story of Battlefield Medicine and Resilience
By Dr Dan Pronk
Published by Macmillan | RRP $36.99 in paperback
At the beginning of this book, author Dan Pronk issues a warning that this book contains detailed descriptions of the application of battlefield medicine, including on some patients who did not survive the ordeal, advising reader discretion, especially for veterans.
Dr Pronk served on over one hundred combat missions in Afghanistan as a frontline special forces combat doctor, where the casualties he treated were his fellow SAS soldiers and commandos, local civilians and even the enemy.
He did not initially set out to be a doctor, hoping instead to be a professional triathlete. It was his acceptance into the military scholarship scheme sponsoring medical students that was to change the direction of his life.
What follows is a frank and revealing memoir of the highs and lows of his military-medical career and the inevitable toll it took on his mental health and family life, not to mention the emotional highs and lows of being unable to save friends and comrades.
It’s a fascinating insider’s account of what it takes to deliver medical care on the battlefield but still when he sees what others have suffered he accepts no excuses for himself.
VERDICT: An extraordinary and well told story.