True Heroes: Wounded U.S. Soldiers Discuss Their Experiences In Iraq
What: In response to the many requests the ASPS has received from reporters wanting to speak with soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ASPS has identified soldiers and the plastic surgeons who have helped them in their recovery. These soldiers and surgeons are available to speak with reporters or participate on news programs, in time for July 4th news packages.
The ASPS can arrange interviews with the soldiers and their plastic surgeons to tell their stories: how these courageous soldiers are dealing with their injuries; how plastic surgery was instrumental to their recovery; what innovations and technologies plastic surgeons have used to reconstruct their lives.
Two soldiers are available: find out how they were injured; their recovery process and how plastic surgery was involved in their reconstruction:
- 24-year-old First Lieutenant Matthew Babiarz, who was struck in the leg by a grenade while on patrol in Baghdad on June 11, 2007. "The first thing I noticed was that my leg was numb and that I couldn't move my toes," recalls Babiarz. For the first six months after returning to the U.S., none of Babiarz's doctors could figure out how to combat the severe nerve damage his leg endured. Finally, Babiarz's father located Ziv Peled, MD, a San Francisco-based plastic surgeon who was able to help Mathew, performing successful surgery on his damaged leg in January 2008. A Fresno, CA native currently living in Ft. Riley, KS, Matthew is scheduled to return to Dr. Peled on July 9 for a second surgery to increase the functionality to his leg.
- 32-year-old Robert Bartlett, a Calvary Scout Sniper in the 3rd Infantry Division, 164 Armor, who was injured by an IED while driving a Humvee on a route recognizance mission outside Sadar City, Iraq. Despite severe facial trauma, a closed head injury, severe lung injury, and burns and fractures of both hands, Robert was able to drive more than 300 yards to safety. Bartlett was initially treated at Landstuhl, moving later to Walter Reed, and finally under the care of Eduardo Rodriguez, MD, a Baltimore, MD-based plastic surgeon who worked diligently to further reconstruct Robert's eyes, lips and mouth. Bartlett currently gives motivational speeches to other wounded soldiers, as well as civilians on behalf of the Yellow Ribbon foundation. His courage and commitment to both fellow soldiers and society have been widely recognized with awards from the National Security Executives; the head of the Army, General Pace; and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Myers. This recognition has allowed him a unique ability (for a soldier of his rank) to consult with top military and political officials, and while he has their attention, he is using his influence to make changes in the military from improving battle conditions for soldiers to preventing injuries and fatalities.
When: These soldiers and their plastic surgeons are available for interviews or can appear on your news program, in time for July 4th news packages.
Why: On July 4, when we celebrate the freedom and independence we all enjoy in our nation, ASPS is highlighting two soldiers who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country, as well as the reconstructive plastic surgeons who have been instrumental in their recovery. The war has inspired great advances in plastic surgery to correct the awful injuries that are inflicted on its participants. In fact, it was the war to end all wars - World War I - that challenged plastic surgeons to achieve groundbreaking advances in wound repair and reconstruction. With this latest conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, plastic surgery, once again, is integral to saving and restoring soldiers' lives.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 6,700 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons