Bryce Dryden is a former medic from 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, who is heading out to the jungles of Burma to teach trauma medicine. He is working with Earth Mission Asia, a non-profit that has worked in the area for years, striving to build healthcare infrastructure among the Karen people in eastern Burma/Myanmar.
There is a dire need for all sorts of healthcare in rural Burma. Once you start to leave the cities and large towns, infant mortality rates skyrocket, preventable deaths from things like diarrhea and malaria increase, and of course deaths and crippling injuries from trauma are far more common. A small cut from a shard of bamboo could get infected and kill someone if they don’t have the knowledge and skills to treat it. Add to that the fact that you could reasonably suggest that most Karen people — at one point or another in their lives — will see several traumatic, life-threatening injuries occur right before them … a little training can go a long way.
Bryce was a special operations medic, serving eight years in the Army. He deployed to Afghanistan twice and has worked for both the 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). After his exit from the military, he became a civilian instructor at the Special Operations Combat Medic course (SOCM). Needless to say, his experience in both the field and the classroom will prove invaluable to those who are seeking to practice trauma medicine out in some of the most rural and dangerous parts of the world.
SOFREP spoke to Bryce, and asked him why he is choosing to make this trip to teach trauma medicine in such a distant and remote place.
Well, first off, I’ve been interested in medicine for as long as I can remember. So much so that in elementary school I carried a first aid kit in my back pocket. I would take notes during any medical scene that made it into a war movie — which I wouldn’t recommend — and would envision one day being there in the position to help someone who truly needed it. I decided the best way to do that was to join the military and become a combat medic.
Despite joining the Army and positioning myself, through hard work and hardheadedness, in one of the greatest fighting forces on the face of the earth, I was never there when it counted. With frustrating frequency the missions I was on were the boring ones. Don’t get me wrong, boring is good and we accomplished more than most, but I joined the Army to help people in need and they were always out of arm’s reach. I would watch the drone feed of the missions I didn’t attend and would see soldiers wounded and civilians caught in the crossfire. My last night in Afghanistan was the night I watched one of my best friends die on the drone feed.