In yet another case in which military medical training is helping with a civilian tragedy, Dr. Peter Rhee, who treated hundreds of soldiers with traumautic brain injury (TBI), one of the signature wounds of the current war, while working as a Navy surgeon at Naval Medical Center in Balboa Park and as a trauma surgeon in Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of the physicians treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other Tucson shooting victims. Rhee, a 24-year Navy veteran who is now the Trauma Chief at University Medical Center in Tucson, told ABC News today he is certain that Giffords will survive.
Rhee, who told the Los Angeles Times he handled "hundreds and hundreds" of battlefield injuries in two war deployments beginning in 2001, was one of the first surgeons to be deployed to forward operating base Rhino, also known as Camp Rhino, the first U.S. land base established in Afghanistan, located in the remote desert about 100 miles southwest of Kandahar. In 2005, Rhee served in Iraq. As ABC reports, the technique in which doctors removed a portion of the congresswoman's skull - which they'll replace when, and if, the brain swelling goes down - was developed on the battlefields where Rhee served.