HomeNewsArticle Display

Lackland doctor leaves Afghan legacy

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty (left) and surgical technician Tech. Sgt Andy Nobles perform surgery in October at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Dr. McCafferty established the first neurosurgery department at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty (left) and surgical technician Tech. Sgt Andy Nobles perform surgery in October at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Dr. McCafferty established the first neurosurgery department at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty, a neurosurgeon deployed from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas (left); and Capt. Stacy Friesen, a neonatal intensive care nurse deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; visit with Zahara and her father at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Afghanistan. Zahara was injured and received several surgeries at the hospital. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty, a neurosurgeon deployed from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas (left); and Capt. Stacy Friesen, a neonatal intensive care nurse deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; visit with Zahara and her father at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Afghanistan. Zahara was injured and received several surgeries at the hospital. (Courtesy photo)

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- A doctor here, who recently returned from an Afghanistan deployment, left a lasting legacy at the neurosurgeon's former deployed base.

Lt. Col. (Dr.) Randall McCafferty, from the 59th Surgical Specialties Squadron, was deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where he established the first neurosurgery department at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital.

"My number one priority upon my arrival was to create a U.S. Air Force neurosurgery presence in country," Dr. McCafferty said. "With the help of Tech. Sgt. Andy Nobles, we were able to accomplish this in about three weeks."

Their work resulted in a modified pre-deployment package better suited to the mission at the hospital.

Some of the other things that he had to accomplish included developing transfer of patient protocols, making changes to existing orders, developing guidelines dealing with head and spinal injuries and determining theater capabilities for neurosurgery.

Life, in many ways, was the same as doing a 24-hour on-call shift at any level one trauma center. The major difference was that "call" lasted seven days a week, Dr. McCafferty said.

"The difference in Afghanistan was that I dealt primarily with penetrating wounds instead of the blunt injuries I normally see at Wilford Hall Medical Center," he said. "The workload was heavy, but easily manageable because I had no elective neurosurgical workload, no administrative duties and no family responsibilities. And, at the end of the day, my (quarters were) only a one-minute walk away."

Although many things became routine, like morning meetings and daily rounds, there were constant signs the joint theater hospital was providing care in a nation at war.

The first and foremost mission of the hospital was caring for American and Allied troops and, when possible, there was the opportunity for humanitarian missions and education.

"One of my most memorable experiences was Zahara, a little girl who was brought in after suffering a significant brain injury from a penetrating wound caused by shrapnel," Dr. McCafferty said. "She was a fixture in the hospital for a very long time and numerous people were involved and heavily engaged in her treatment."

Zahara received multiple surgeries, three of which were performed by Dr. McCafferty.

"It was a true team effort from all involved in her treatment, from the pediatricians, surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists," he said. "She actually became a morale booster for the hospital during that segment of time. She made everyone feel good because our efforts were paid off with miraculous results."

Dr. McCafferty said that team efforts and the team spirit were some of the most rewarding experiences from his deployment.

"Everyone was motivated to get things done," he said. "The camaraderie that was there among all the members was beyond what I had experienced in quite some time."

Comment on this story   (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page

Engage

Twitter
The Skyborg leadership team conducted a 2 hour and 10 minute flight test of the Skyborg autonomy core system, or AC… https://t.co/Gf1W4IIN0A
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Airmen of the 152nd Airlift Wing's Medical Group teamed up with @NVNationalGuard Soldiers for joint aeromedical training…
Twitter
.@SecAFOfficial, @GenCQBrownJr & @SpaceForceCSO testified before the @AppropsDems' Defense Appropriations Subcommit… https://t.co/wC8CE7dSYR
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary Roth testifying to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense. ⬇️ https://t.co/eeXGgdqCDb
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth, @USAirForce Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. (@GenCQBrownJr) & @SpaceForceDoD Chief of Space Operations G…
Twitter
Each day military spouses support our Airmen, as they do their part to support the Air Force mission. Today serves… https://t.co/6EOGUPXhqk
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: From the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, to the #COVID19 pandemic, nurses are on the front lines of care every day. Thank you…
Twitter
RT @KadenaAirBase: #TeamKadena Airmen from the 18th LRS Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant Flight and the 44th AMU's Ghost Team teamed up with Ma…
Twitter
“Agility Prime is about creating a new path to adopt advanced technologies in the Department of Defense by working… https://t.co/rzS29Cvhd8
Twitter
During a visit to @TeamMinot, @GenCQBrownJr had the opportunity to see how Airmen maintained operations during the… https://t.co/Jot5OwF6sm
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,555
Follow Us