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BOOK REVIEW: RULE NUMBER TWO: LESSONS I LEARNED
IN A COMBAT HOSPITAL
BY DR. HEIDI SQUIER KRAFT

We hope you enjoy this book review by Cy Hilterman.

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Dr. Kraft is now a retired Lieutenant Commander clinical psychologist in the United States Navy. She was called to Iraq several months after her twins were born, making her tour of duty an extra hard one. I can only try to visualize just how hard this tour was with her husband being a naval pilot and leaving those twins, while she was away serving our military.

As most of us think we know how bad things are in Iraq, or were when Dr. Kraft was on duty, we have a hard time understanding how much our military officers and non-commissioned men and women are and were in need of her profession. She never knew when she would be called out of the shabby barracks to assist someone; never knew when shells would rain down on her and her fellow soldiers; never knew what she would see in the way of physical wounds such as missing limbs, eye, or other body parts; had no way of knowing if the patient would pull through or be a vegetable; but she always knew that her help as a psychologist and sometimes as a medical doctor or nurse would come into such dramatic use.

During her tour of duty she contacted her family as much as possible but the use of any communications gear was in such short demand and it was shared by so many. Dr. Kraft had many a sleepless night, some due to noise from exploding shells or mortars, but many due to the hot conditions she had to endure in Iraq with temperatures regularly getting to 132º, making sleep extremely difficult. Sometimes she and some of her fellow staff would be called to a different location where problems existed. They had to talk soldiers down to earth when they wanted to commit suicide for a reason they felt they couldn’t live with. Their own fellow medical professionals helped each other when things got too tough.

When a soldier is lost on the battlefield or in the hospital setting, it is so physically and mentally difficult for the entire staff to stay concentrated on their objectivity. Dr. Kraft draws you into the scene wherever it may be and you will find yourself shaking your head as you wonder how the staff could survive through such terrible actions. Yes, you will probably shed a few tears reading through some of the very sentimental times both from the battlefield and from personal lives as they endured the unknown.

When you finish Rule Number Two you will have been through an experience you will never forget and you will have even more respect for our men and women in our armed forces and what they endure. Thank you Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft for your excellent story and the way you told it to all of us.

REVIEWED BY CY HILTERMAN

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CY HILTERMAN

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