Ep 120: The Secret Middle East Mission CRNAs Took Part In

It’s like a story right out of a Hollywood blockbuster. One that involves predawn flights, heavy military ammunitions, and a Crown Prince from the United Arab Emirates. Most importantly, it’s a secret mission involving CRNAs. Join us as we get the first-hand account of this 2017 covert operation from Lt. Col Laura Wiggins, CRNA, who was a part of this flight into Yemen.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

When people think about nurse anesthetists, you’re probably picture a hospital room and controlled environments. Well, the story we’re about to tell you will shatter all of those preconceived notions.

On this episode of Beyond the Mask, we welcome in Lt. Col Laura Wiggins, CRNA, who is recently retired after serving 25 years in the military. During her final year of service, she was involved in a secret mission in the Middle East to provide medical care, which also involved other CRNAs. The work that was done that day in 2017 eventually led to a peace deal in 2020, which makes the story even more remarkable.

This has all of the pieces you’d find in a Hollywood blockbuster and it’s incredible to hear about the impact CRNAs have all across the world. Good luck containing your pride after hearing everything that Wiggins went through during this operation and the care that was provided to some very powerful people.

So as you get started, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • Her background in the military and how CRNAs played a key role.
  • How the mission transpired
  • Flying into Yemen in the middle of the night without much idea of the mission
  • When she saw a CRNA patch on someone’s chest in Yemen
  • The weapons and personnel that were protecting their flight
  • A walking bloodline
  • An inverted take-off while trying to give blood and chest compressions
  • The details on the mission and why they were called to duty
  • How this mission led to a peace accord signed in November 2020
  • A future in politics?

Check it out in the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

3:14 – Background on our guest

6:23 – How the mission unfolded

9:50 – No time to sleep

14:02 – Flying into Yemen

15:49 – CRNA patch

17:24 – Dealing with Injured patients  

19:00 – Media knew the story

20:39 – A walking bloodline

21:36 – Combat take-off

22:51 – The reason for the mission

24:18 – How this affected the peace accord

27:14 – Running for office

29:24 – Final thoughts from Laura

 


“We were building teams to deploy and to take care of our members overseas and to transport them, and we figured the best nurses – in a lot of cases – to do that are CRNAs.”

-Lt. Col Laura Wiggins, CRNA

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Ep 225: An Inside Look at Lobbying for Your State Association

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Ep 224: ASA 2022 Difficult Airway Algorithm Update

The American Society of Anesthetists initially released the Difficult Airway Algorithm in 1993 to provide a guide for managing a patient with a difficult airway. It has been updated every 10 years since with the fourth iteration being released in January 2022.
The latest update has a number of key changes that Jeremy and Sass will take you through in this episode of the podcast.

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