MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Death is a very real fact of life. It's going to happen to all of us some day and there will probably be very little we can do about it when our time comes. Sure it sounds rough, but it's the cold hard truth. However, there are those here who have committed their time and effort to prevent and possibly delay that eventual end for us.
The staff members in the Emergency Department at the Naval Hospital here are doing everything they can to help save the lives of those who come to them for medical attention.
According to Emergency Department Director Cmdr. Charles Nixon, the department has a primary and secondary mission.
"The first mission of the hospital is to prevent any permanent disabilities or deaths by handling all life-threatening injuries," Nixon said. "After we take care of all of the people with critical injuries, then we can take care of the others. We just prioritize the seriousness of the injury and go from there."
Nixon said the care patients get through the Emergency Department is excellent compared to most civilian hospitals. He said considering the size of the facility is only big enough to handle 80 patients per day, the staff handles 100 to 130 patients or more, effectively.
"Being that potential trauma cases are very real here because of the training, there has to be well-trained people on staff here," said Cmdr. Jaime A. Carroll, Emergency Department nurse manager. "We have over 80 staff members, both physicians and nurses, who are highly qualified and board certified to handle a large number of patients at a time."
There are 120 personnel working in the emergency department. Those people include the physicians, emergency medical technicians and the staff members and nurses.
"There is absolutely nothing that compares to saving someone's life," said Mrs. Terry Howell, a licensed practical nurse. "It can be a very stressful and sometimes a thankless job. But its all worth it if you get the chance to touch so many lives through the things you've done to help them in an emergency."
Howell said the staff members work hand-in-hand to accomplish the goal of the Emergency Department.
"Everyone plays a different role in there," Howell said pointing to the emergency room. "We are always learning from each other. None of us could get our job done without each other."