Christmas in Iraq with LTC John Page, M.D.
by Pastor Dan White
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The woman barely was able to walk into the Charlie Medical Clinic on the United States Army’s military base in Ramadi, Iraq. Faint and weak from internal bleeding, the acute cramping pain in her pelvic region was more than she could bear. She collapsed. Her blood pressure precipitously dropped. She was near death. Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) John Page, M.D., diagnosed her with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and immediately went to work to save her life.
Dr. Page and his medical team were able to resuscitate her, stabilize her, and call for the medevac helicopter that whisked her away to the Combat Support Hospital. There, the Army surgeon immediately operated on her and saved the life of the 34 year old German woman who was in Iraq working under a contract with the United States government.
Dr. Page said, “We treated everyone day or night who walked through the door – local nationals, civilians under contract with the government, soldiers, and even State Department and embassy personnel. The United States Army’s Tactical Combat Medical Care System is very effective. We do a good job preventing soldiers from dying on the battlefield.”
LTC Page took a circuitous route to become a gastroenterologist. He has been stationed at Ft. Gordon’s Eisenhower Hospital for the past two years including his deployment to Iraq from July 2010 to January of this year.
He graduated from West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in Operations Research Systems Analysis. But after sixteen years as a line and staff officer, he resigned his West Point commission and entered medical school.
The Lord called him to medicine 17 years ago at the age of 34 when he was a staff officer at the Pentagon. There were two factors in how God spoke to him. “At the Pentagon, I realized that I was not impacting the lives of those around me. Secondly, my oldest son was diagnosed with microcephaly. The compassionate care of the doctors in their treatment of him and their work with me and my wife had a huge influence on me. God spoke to me during this difficult time in our lives calling me to minister to others through medicine.”
This time last year, LTC Page was stationed at the Army Base in Ramadi, Iraq, far away from his four children and dear wife. “The deployment was tough on my wife – harder for her than it was for me. But, I wanted to deploy. I wanted to serve the Army, my country, and our soldiers. I strongly desired to help out, participate, do my part, and minister to and encourage our soldiers in Iraq. For me, that desire comes from the Lord.”
“It was hard to be away from home at Christmas,” he said. “But, the Army went all out to give us a celebration that I will never forget. We had a wonderful, uplifting Christmas Eve service led by our chaplains. The music team led us in the traditional carols. A physician’s assistant played the guitar and keyboard. One of our civilian contractors played the violin. The familiar hymns, the traditional Scripture readings from Isaiah and Luke, and the Chaplain’s Christmas sermon really blessed us all.
“For Christmas dinner, the chow hall was festively decorated complete with floats and displays. I mean, it was really decked out! Our commanders and leaders served the soldiers wearing Santa caps. The traditional meal also included lobster and a fabulous dessert line. The Army gave us Christmas cheer. We were like family.
“Afterward, we exchanged presents and opened the care packages from supportive citizens back home. Snacks, T-shirts, and assorted gifts filled the packages and meant so much to all of us. Children sent home-baked cookies. School teachers had led their classes to make Christmas cards with handwritten notes and sent them to us. Their outpouring of love, support, and appreciation for our troops and for me encouraged us beyond what words are able to express. We were overwhelmed with joy and felt a cohesion and camaraderie with them and with each other. They gave us a Merry Christmas even though we were far from home and family. I will always be grateful.”
LTC John Page, M.D., manifests the love of Christ to those under his care through his compassionate actions. He testifies, “I pray for my soldiers and try to live by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. ‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.’”
For more on Dr. Page, check out
Rev. Dan White is a free-lance writer and founder and pastor of North Columbia Church, Appling, GA.
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Thank you for sharing this doctor's story. It is good for those on the homefront to get a glimpse of life in a combat zone, to shorten some of the distance during those long deployments. God bless our troops and all those in harm's way! And, God bless you, too, Pr. Dan!