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Doc presents war zone flag to hospital

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A trauma surgeon who spent six months operating on soldiers in Afghanistan recently presented the local neuro-trauma intensive care unit that employs him with a very special American flag. Dr. Dustin Zierold gave Sutter Roseville Medical Center the flag that flew over the Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where he worked from May to December 2009. Dr. Zierold took charge of the hospital roughly six days before the largest surge in Marine and Army personnel – 17,000 troops – occurred in the history of the nine-year war. During the next seven months, the 38-bed and three-operating room hospital received 1,298 trauma patients, performed 3,892 surgical procedures – all with three general surgeons, two orthopedic surgeons, one trauma surgeon and several subspecialty surgeons. Family practice and internal medicine physicians rounded out the physician work force for a total of 26 doctors. Dr. Zierold, who works weekends at Sutter Roseville, said he is appreciative of the trauma program and its physicians, nurses and staff because they helped train him and others well. “The work we do at Sutter Roseville prepares us for the intense, trauma-rich environment of war,” he said. “The system at Roseville is very organized and provides a currency platform for the Air Force surgeons who are slated to deploy into war zones. “For those reasons, it was pretty easy to choose TNI and honor them with the flag,” he added. Gary Gates, TNI manager, said that they have since had the flag framed and are determining the best place in the unit to display the flag and its accompanying certificate. “It’s an honor to receive anything from the doctors, but the fact that he thought of our hospital overseas and brought something back, that is very special,” he said. ~ Staff report