Life Lessons on a C-130

Adam Tibble, M.D.

There’s nothing like delivering care to wounded warriors in the back of a flying, vibrating C-130 to push a doctor out of his hospital comfort zone. But according to NorthBay Healthcare cardiac anesthesiologist Adam Tibble, M.D., his four years in the Air Force as a physician with Critical Care Air Transport resulted in some of his most meaningful, rewarding work.

He served during the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts and was deployed twice over four years, once to Afghanistan and once to the Middle East. He found himself teamed up with an ICU nurse and a respiratory therapist — both with exemplary skills, he says proudly — handling the care of as many as two dozen high-acuity patients, as well as numerous other low-acuity or insurgent patients.

“We would bring patients to stark hospital outposts and fly them to higher acuity hospitals within Afghanistan or on to Germany,” he explained. “Our U.S. military and International Security Assistance Force soldiers are the real heroes,” he said. “They enter a cave or go on a mission, merely because they are told to do so. They deserve excellent care. They deserve to know that their country will go to the ends of the earth to keep them alive and transport them home, and we did.”

Those lessons, he said, are easy to apply to the patients back at home—both at David Grant Medical Center and at North- Bay Healthcare, which he joined in 2011.

“My team’s experience showed me the power of being intensely motivated for your patient,” he said. “Finding and sharing those stories of our current patients is imperative, motivating and rewarding.”

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