Coping With Death And Dying In A Combat Environment

Health care provided by the medical specialist includes the following.

a. Make the casualty as comfortable as possible.

b. If possible, find someone who can sit with the soldier (hopefully, a buddy from his unit).

c. Offer to take care of unfinished business or notify family, if possible.

NOTE: The buddy of the deceased, or whomever is with the casualty at the time of his death, can provide feedback to include when the soldier died and where the soldier died.

d. Encourage the casualty to express feelings of grief.

e. If possible, make time for a brief service of some sort, however simple.

NOTE: The expression of grief is important to prevent post-combat psychological problems of those who saw their buddies killed in action. Many of the mental health professionals now treating combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders feel that too often the soldiers didn't allow themselves to grieve for their buddies at the time (or soon after), and so are still haunted by them today.

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