Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Amid the devastation, a Stanford doctor stitches up George, a search dog

Amid the devastation, a Stanford doctor stitches up George, a search dog

Justin Lemieux, MD, says he has never seen anything like the devastation of the Camp Fire, and this is coming from a Stanford emergency medicine physician and a seasoned member of FEMA Urban Search & Rescue California Task Force 3.

The Task Force was called up late last Friday. Lemieux, scheduled to work a 9 a.m. shift in the Stanford emergency department, made a quick 1 a.m. call to colleague Colin Bucks, MD, who responded, “Go. We’ll cover you.” Lemieux left with the team just a few short hours later.

The Task Force set up camp Saturday night in Oroville to begin search operations in what was the town of Magalia. There was no town, just debris. During an initial briefing, the group was told the fire wall raced through the town at 800 yards per minute. “Basically, if someone saw the flames, it was too late. There was no way to outrun it,” Lemieux says.

I know Task Force 3. I shadowed them in a day-long training exercise at Moffett Field last July. But I can’t recognize them in the pictures Lemieux sends; they are covered from head to toe in personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and Tyvex suits. The smoke is bad, but even worse, many buildings had asbestos and chemical products that cannot be inhaled.

Lemieux is the team doctor. “I support the US&R [urban search and rescue] community. This is an incredibly dangerous environment, so I provide medical support for people doing dangerous work, far from hospitals.”

In the fire zone, the Task Force members, including Lemieux, walk slowly and methodically through ruined neighborhoods, one end to the other, over collapsed structures, caved roofs, ash, sharp debris. Power lines, burned trees, and unsupported chimneys loom overhead. The soil has weakened, caved in spots and searchers move cautiously to avoid falling into hidden basements and septic tanks.

“Sadly, the real service we are doing is searching, not rescuing,” Lemieux explains. Thanks to years in medicine, he has an acceptance of death. What gets to him though, are the signs of what was once a home. “The ‘We’re the Millers’ kind of things. Then it isn’t just existential. It’s personal.”

Lemieux has treated mostly foot injuries caused by the dangerous terrain. One of the first injuries occurred Sunday night: it was George, a highly-trained search dog. “These dogs are incredibly stoic,” Lemieux explains. “When they are injured, they don’t have a condition in their head that says fall down and cry. They just keep working.”

The first sign George was injured was when his trainer noticed a few drops of blood on his rear leg. Lemieux was called over, saw a laceration and patched it temporarily before taking the dog back to the BOO (base of operations). There, the handler said, “Platz,” (German for down) and George lay without moving. Two team members held him, more to reassure than restrain him, and Lemieux stitched his leg. “When I finished, George jumped up and licked my face. He seemed to know my job was to help him.”

Lemieux is a dog-owner himself, and Dax, his German Shepard, was at the FEMA training exercise I attended. Lemieux hopes to train him for search and rescue but notes, “I’ll be incredibly lucky if he turns out as well as George.”

Monday morning, George was back at work, searching, but not before Lemieux changed his bandages. That evening, and Tuesday morning, when Lemieux called George over, the dog lay down and lifted the leg expectantly for the dressing change. Each time, when finished, he licked Lemieux enthusiastically as if in thanks.

Lemieux has been told the team may be on site for the next several weeks, with additional members rotating in for relief. They are taking it one day at a time. And each night, when the team retires to large tents, George crawls into his crate and sleeps.

Photo in BOO courtesy of Justin Lemieux; image of George by Tim Houweling and Katie Roberts

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles