Stabilization was what Dr. Timothy Judge practiced while he was on three tours of duty in Afghanistan. When soldiers were wounded, it was Judge and the rest of his team's job to stabilize each soldier so they could be transported to a permanent hospital for advanced treatment and surgery.
"Soldiers would come to us ... you know, some guy gets shot or a mortar goes off near them and they have a penetrating wound of some kind. It was our job to stabilize them enough to transport to Bagram where the permanent hospital was," said Judge, who recently joined Susquehanna Health.
Judge was deployed three times as a member of a 12-person "Forward Surgical Team," or FST. Although combat surgery wasn't an anticipated destination, Judge considers the experience a rewarding one.
Dr. Timothy Judge served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, working in forward surgical teams that were tasked with stabilizing wounded soldiers so they could safely be transported to hospitals for advanced treatment and surgery. Judge has since left the Army and, in May, became a civilian surgeon at Susquehanna Health.
"I wouldn't call it a direct line (being a combat surgeon). I think it just kind of turned out that way, but it was definitely a rewarding experience helping our servicemen. Those guys are making big sacrifices, and it was important to me to be able to help them," Judge said.
The seven-year experience for Judge began after graduating from the Uniformed Services University of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, and completion of his residency in Augusta, Georgia, at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
After Augusta, Judge traveled to Fort Stewart, Georgia, to practice. It was while he was there that he was deployed three times with the FST.
"There were usually two surgeons on the team, a guy in charge of administering anesthesia and several other medical staff to help with what is commonly referred to as 'damage control surgery,' " Judge said.
Some of the surgeons Judge worked with were "fellowship" surgeons, or ones who had a particular specialty when it came to operations; for example, a cardiovascular surgeon.
Judge was deployed as a general surgeon. He had no plans to become a fellowship surgeon.
"I personally love the barrage of general surgery. I like the constant challenge of never knowing what is coming next," Judge said.
When his obligation with the Army was up, Judge opted to become a civilian surgeon for several reasons. One of the main reasons was to be closer to family in northeast Pennsylvania and to spend time with his two young children.
"My wife has family in this area, and we just wanted to get back to that," Judge said.
He joined the Susquehanna Health General Surgery practice as a general surgeon on May 1.