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South Coast Nurse Spends Vacation Helping Wounded In Iraq

It’s the time of year when many of us are taking little spring vacations. Kyle Fleher who’s a critical care nurse at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, just took two weeks off from his job, but used them in a very special way. He volunteered at a front line medical aid station in war torn Mosul, Iraq.

Fleher was working in a unit which would try to save the lives of, and stabilize critically injured people who would then be transferred to hospitals with operating rooms, and other critical care facilities. The 32 year old nurse says they saw all types of injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to those hurt by explosions.

Helping others in need is nothing new for the Santa Barbara County man. He’s volunteered in clinics in Haiti. And, Fleher is involved locally with a group called Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine, which provides medical care for homeless in the region. The nurse says the Mosul project is something being coordinated by a non-profit called New York Street Medics.

Fleher says as a critical care nurse at Cottage, he spends his average day focusing on two or maybe three patients a day with serious medical issues. In Mosul, there were times where they were swamped with dozens of wounded.

Fleher admits it hasn’t been easy readjusting from the din of gunfire. and explosions of Mosel to the calm of Santa Barbara. He says the experience is something he’ll never forget, but says he would do it again, because he was able to help save lives.