American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Legacy of Heroes
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Wounded in Action documentary coming to PBS across the nation!
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World War II is called, quite understandably, the defining experience in the lives of millions of Americans--so too in the lives of these orthopaedic surgeons. Most in their early twenties, they were faced in World War II for the first time with their own mortality and the terrible responsibility of saving the lives of so many mangled bodies. They had little preparation or training for this awesome task. Most often, they operated under the chaotic stress of combat.
These recollections are brief tidbits of a past lifetime: a mosaic of moments from long ago, still indelibly etched in the minds and souls of the participants. The language is theirs. It often comes in bits and pieces, like a patchwork quilt, for that's often how memory survives. Their thoughts, some slightly fuzzed, some brilliantly distilled by time, are of stoicism and boredom, stupid military snafus and instances of medical brilliance and true heroism.

These glimpses of long ago are of a machine gunner turned litter-bearer; a corpsman blown off his own ship while tending wounded comrades; life-saving medical procedures with artillery screaming overhead; innovative methods of treating horribly burned seamen and the disdain of an infantryman, injured in the Battle of the Bulge, for his new prosthetic leg. The surgeons' actions and their own words-quiet, boisterous, profane, insightful--are their legacy for us today.
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