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Personnel Profiles
Maj. Christopher Niles
Anesthesiologist


Life and Death in the War Zone homepage

I am now back home with my family in San Antonio, Texas. I married far above me, and we have two beautiful daughters (Savannah 12, Olivia 11) and are expecting our third daughter this spring. I'm back to work as a staff anesthesiologist at Brooke Army Medical Center, taking care of patients and teaching anesthesia to residents. In addition to the active-duty soldiers, family members, and retirees here in Texas, I continue to care for soldiers that have been injured in Iraq and evacuated stateside. In fact, I recently took care of a young soldier whom I treated while I was in Iraq. It was very gratifying to see that he was doing well and had made it home.

In a broad sense, two things happened at the 21st CSH after the filming ended last May. We became busier treating patients, both Iraqis and Americans. And we settled into a routine that bordered on monotony, similar to the movie "Groundhog Day."

I'd describe the high points as being on two levels. One was when we'd take care of an injured soldier or an Iraqi civilian, save his or her life, and make sure that person got home to his or her family. This was what we were there to do, and it was gratifying beyond words. On the other hand, there were the little things that made a difference, like receiving a package with my favorite snack or a new picture of my kids; a good, hot, holiday meal at the mess hall instead of MREs [Meals Ready-to-Eat]; a rare phone call home and hearing the voices of my wife and children. The one thing I would have done differently is I would have brought a satellite phone so I could have spoken to my family more often.

The low points were when we'd done everything we could to save a patient, and despite our very best efforts, we failed. You knew in your heart that someone's parents, wife, or children would never see their loved one again. That is always very difficult.

I can say that, without question, the men and women I served with were the finest group of people I have ever known. The physicians, nurses, and support staff are dedicated, professional, caring, and the best our country has to offer. I am proud to have worked with them. I am proud to have served my country and fellow Americans in a very difficult situation. I feel privileged that I was there to provide medical care for the brave men and women that are in harm's way every day in Iraq. I hope I made a difference in their lives.

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Maj. Christopher Niles

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