10-17-05 – A local doctor familiar with working on the front line of disaster is heading to Pakistan to help the hundreds of thousands hurt in the October 8th earthquake.
As an emergency room doctor, and a member of the military, Pete Chambers truly works double duty. This Wednesday he'll join a small group of military doctors with the Oklahoma Baptist Convention working in field hospitals where they're needed most.
Most days, Dr. Chambers is stationed at the Integris Hospital Emergency Room in Madill, but at a moment's notice, the National Guard Battalion Surgeon can be anywhere disaster strikes, performing triage on the front lines. He was at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks, and in New Orleans and Houston after the hurricanes. This time, the call comes from the earthquake epicenter near Islamabad, Pakistan.
“Being in the military now for nearly 20 years, it's just part of my nature, part of my build. I also enjoy when I work with the Baptist relief, going out and just helping other people. Be it Katrina, Rita, in the U.S. or overseas, there are just people that need this type of help,” says Dr. Chambers.
After a stint as a paratrooper in the early 1980s, Dr. Chambers went to medical school. It was there he found his calling to use his medical expertise with his military training, performing triage on the front line of disaster.
“I was able to combine the two skills of the ability to go out into a bad area and work with very little resources with my medical training. It seemed to be a good fit for me and that's why I get called out a lot,” says Dr. Chambers.
Last year he joined a convoy in Iraq to set up field hospitals. Traveling outside Fallujah, the soldiers came under fire. One man died and several were injured. Dr. Chambers was shot. He says he has learned to focus on the job in the face of danger and rarely gets scared. The hardest part is leaving his wife and 6-year-old son at a moment’s notice. But the reason he goes, time and again, is for the thousands of people he is able to help.