Ryan Hepworth worked on some of the most intense trauma cases as an Army nurse. He knew he was going to experience those situations when he volunteered to work in combat trauma. A decision he says was based on a willingness to “know” the patients he was working on. Working in the combat hospital in Afghanistan brought him face-to-face with the worst that humans can do to one another in war. So much so that every time Ryan talks about his experiences in Afghanistan, his words take him back to the moments, the intensity, the smells when so many heavily injured servicemembers were brought to him for urgent, lifesaving care. And it also stirs up memories of those he couldn’t save. Talking about it is the therapy that helps him with PTSD, a direct result of his time spent in Afghanistan. This is an emotional episode, but one that is intended to help us all better understand the dark effects that war has on those who’ve experienced it, and what’s needed to keep that darkness from taking one more life.

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