Fatal injury
in Working in a world of hurt
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This chapter examines how medical personnel memoirs from the Iraq war construct and reconstruct injury, particularly what is euphemistically called 'fatal injury' as their writers respond to the injured and the dead. Particularly, it focuses on the doctors’ and nurses’ response to the deaths of combatants and to civilian casualties. Although in the larger context of publishing accounts postwar this is a very recent conflict, published memoirs by American medical personnel are rapidly appearing. The much greater cultural awareness of various forms of traumatic response to war is important to this discussion, especially as it is represented as contentious. What we find in these accounts is that even though the number of casualties these individuals treat are fewer than in other wars, they carry the same burden of remorse for those they could not save. The accounts show that writing is both a therapeutic means of finding resilience and an entrapment in remembering as they grieve for the dead.

Working in a world of hurt

Trauma and resilience in the narratives of medical personnel in warzones


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