A Vet Story

Wounded Marine says a miracle saved him (Los Angeles Daily News)

This comes rather late this Veteran’s day, but I want everyone to hear the story of my next-door neighbor, Jesus Vidana, who was shot and killed his first day in Iraq.

Well, not exactly.

The truth is that he was a Marine Reservist deployed to Iraq in April 2003, and hours after his arrival he took a bullet to the head and was pronounced dead on the scene. Then he was transported to a Navy medical facility where he was again pronounced dead — a mere 13 hours after his initial head wound.

But a CNN reporter, Sanjay Gupta, just so happened to have been in his previous career a neurosurgeon, and questioned the status of Vidana — Gupta was told that the Marine was done for and to move on, but the neurosurgeon asserted that Vidana could be saved if only a blood clot could be remedied.

Yet the medical facility had no way to remove the clot so my neighbor was left for dead. Left for dead, that is, until Dr. Gupta went outside of the facility and commandeered a Makita drill and proceeded to drill a hole in Vidana’s head, alleviating the blood clot and saving the Marine’s life.

This is a most improbably story, but one that certainly forces us to reflect on fate, God’s will, and the special providence afforded the United States of America.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. Rusty says:

    God bless him. No, he already has.

  2. Two Cents says:

    James–What a story! Thanks for sharing–a great close to a momemtous Veteran’s Day.

    Thanks too for your incredible work on this blog. You consistently produce interesting and valuable content and commentary. I only have one question–when do you sleep?

  3. DC Loser says:

    A very inspiring story, but I also think of what would have happened if Dr. Gupta weren’t around and wasn’t so persistent. Others in Mr. Vidana’s shoes don’t stand a chance in the military medical system.

  4. Ret Automoton says:

    Too bad “special providence” is not really affording us the luxury of an epidemic. Of course if we really wanted to talk of providence, we might talk of divine intervention.But alas the real scene in Iraq is filled with the stench of failure. Failure on a scale and of a range possibly unheralded in mankinds history. I will not do a disservice to a fellow troop, but the real writing is on the wall. The hard questions are not being asked.
    W would have us believe that in fact it is divine intervention that has taken us back to Babylon for yet another crusade. Remember that the 6th and 7th crusades were fought by children. The average age of the troops there now is 19.5 yrs old. And since it will never again be the ownership class that defends this country, then I’m quite sure that in the near future our Congress will have to begin debating how we can send people younger than 17 through Basic Combat Training.
    The real truth of the matter is, W was called by his god to the presidency then to Iraq. And Marines like the one above will continue to get shot and killed so that this plutocratic oligarchy can continue marching. I would have rather invaded and occupied Saudi Arabia, at least they have a military, and at the least were there not a wealth of Saudi’s invoved in 9/11

  5. Gee Ret, aren’t there enough opportunities to spew the lame “Bush lied, people died” mantra? Can’t you people let even one positive story go without trying to poison it, even on Veteran’s Day?

  6. LJD says:

    Check your facts, Ret…

    Iraq is an unprecedented success on virtually every parameter. There has never been such a decisive military victory-“unheralded in mankind’s history”. You just wouldn’t know it from watching the nightly news.

    The average troop is 19.5 years old? What average? The average age of troops between 18 and 21? Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, most of the troops are much older. Furthermore, casualties for ages 18-21 are less than 20%.

    It really great that you know what W’s god is telling him. Must be great to be so clairvoyant…

    I won’t do any disservice to a fellow troop either. God bless and keep you safe. Don’t lose your faith or bearing. We’re winning…

  7. McGehee says:

    You have to see this the way Comrade Automoton sees it: He calls Iraq a failure because it failed to give Kerry an issue with which to turn Bush out of office.

  8. Maureen says:

    Thanks for sharing this story.