INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- No trauma surgeon is more prepared for their patients than Dr. Stephanie Savage. The proud Hoosier veteran served tours of duty in the U.S. Air Force in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Certainly some of the wounds we saw in theater are unique to that setting, but it kind of prepares you to see all kinds of crazy things here,” said Dr. Savage.
Dr. Savage returned from her war service to become the Trauma Medical Director at IU Health. But it was overseas that Dr. Savage got the valuable training she would bring back to Indiana. She treated soldiers who fell victim to improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
"A lot of times, the amputations would happen from the initial injury, so we wouldn't necessarily be making the decision to amputate, we would just be controlling the bleeding and trying to stabilize to get the troops back to the United States," said Dr. Savage.
Those experiences gave the doctor not only the technical skills to treat trauma, but the emotional experience to help patients and their families.
"To know that sometimes they had suffered those horrible injuries and their families still didn't know and it might be a day or two before the loved ones back home found out. It's taught me the importance of communicating with families here."
Stephanie Savage has used her military background to become an advocate for Hoosier veterans. She speaks out about their service and makes sure their sacrifice is never forgotten and never unappreciated.
"A concern is that as the ward wind down and we're no longer engaged in active conflict and as normal people's attention gets taken to other things, you forget about those guys who suffered these life altering injuries and all the families that lost their loved ones."