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Afghanistan veteran using his field experience to save lives at Indianapolis hospital

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- It’s hard to imagine a more difficult, but more effective training ground for a trauma surgeon than a war zone. It was the crucible for a Hoosier Hero in Afghanistan.

Dr. Peter Hammer served a tour of duty in Kandahar starting on Christmas day in 2012. He was Chief of Trauma at the largest facility in the region for more 200 days. He often treated soldiers and their wounds, sometimes in the middle of an attack from the Taliban.

“That was a day I'll never forget because it was the most operations we did,” said Hammer. “Everyone came together as a team.”

After his tour of duty ended, Dr. Hammer came to the IU Health Methodist Hospital where he works as an Associate Trauma Medical Director. He treats all manners of emergencies and patients. But thanks to his experience in the military, Dr. Hammer says nothing in his emergency room intimidates him.

“I feel here or anywhere I've been, I can handle what comes through the door,” said Dr. Hammer.

Dr. Hammer doesn’t miss his time in the war zone. But he values the experience and education it gave him about not only medicine, but service to a greater cause.

“We felt that no matter how bad it was, there's hope for the guys down the ward,” said Hammer. “It was a great experience that molded me into who I am.”

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