A Long Beginning to a Long Road—from Combat to Recovery

Derek McGinnis, an Iraq veteran, tells the story of his deployment, his combat injuries (brain, leg, hand, and more), and the road back to recovery.

I was in for an extended period of time. I ended up serving for 11 years, and in 2004 I was with a unit called 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance, and we were based out of Twentynine Palms, and I had the privilege of deploying with them during Operation Phantom Fury, and I got injured by a vehicle borne IED. A suicide driver had exploded himself into our ambulance. Some of the immediate injuries I sustained I had a left parietal bleed from the blast as well as being injured inside the vehicle. I sustained multiple shrapnel wounds to my arms, my legs, and I lost my leg above the knee as well and sustained shrapnel to my eye, and of course, the brain injury was definitely severe. I was medevaced out of--immediately medevaced to the local BAS or battalion aid station--or excuse me, back to the CSH, if you will, different surgical systems as they're medevacing up out of the care zone and I had the privilege of a great team of-- a beautiful nurse and wonderful people and a lot of-- they went above and beyond to sustain my life with all of the multi-traumas that happened. They were able to medevac me back to further echelons of care and into more acute trauma settings and into Germany where I had more of my critical wounds further stabilized. That was a long beginning to a long road, but it is what it is. It's where it begins and trying to find the other end.
Posted on BrainLine July 3, 2012.

Produced by Brian King and Vicky Youcha, BrainLine.

About the author: Derek McGinnis, MSW

Derek McGinnis is an Iraq War combat veteran serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He currently serves combat veterans and their families at the Modesto Vet Center. He advocates for veterans coping with pain through the American Pain Foundation and is the author of a book on pain management.

Derek  McGinnis