One surgeon’s tour of duty

July 22, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,
Dr. Dawn Coleman is welcomed back to UMHS after a 90-day tour in Iraq.

Dr. Dawn Coleman is welcomed back to UMHS after a 90-day tour in Iraq.

Dawn Coleman, M.D., feels blessed to be given the opportunity to serve her country.

Dr. Coleman, a vascular surgeon at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center, recently returned from a 90-day tour in Iraq as part of the U.S. Army Reserve.

“My role in giving back to my country is very small in comparison to what I’ve gained and what others have given,” says Coleman, who joined the military in 2003, prompted by a sense of duty and a strong family history of service.

She was assigned to a forward operating base with her home unit, the 948th Forward Surgical Team. The team’s mission was to provide medical assistance to local, national, coalition and U.S. troops.

Coleman said the work she and her colleagues perform at U-M put her in the best position to help the wounded.

“My training at U-M prepared me for the complex injuries we have to manage on the battlefield,” Dr. Coleman said. “Each day brought different challenges.”

As part of a forward surgical unit, Coleman was based near the combat zone and was immediately available to triage and resuscitate casualties. The team was equipped to perform damage-control surgery to salvage life, limbs and eyesight and to stabilize patients for transport to a higher level of hospital care.

“Our unit did a tremendous amount of good,” she said proudly of her first deployment.

To read more about Coleman’s incredible story, go to the Michigan Health blog.