While there is a Vietnam Vet in the True Blood books who has been changed into an Iraq Vet for the TV series to make him more age appropriate, there is also the story of an Iraq vet in the US TV series Grey’s Anatomy. I was a bit surprised when series 5 introduced Dr. Owen Hunt, trauma surgeon at the Seattle Grace hospital, and to discover the back story. It’s an interesting depiction of an Iraq vet with severe PTSD, at times a bit over the top, but still believable.
Owen is a type “Ice man”, reminiscent of Sgt Brad Colbert in Generation Kill. He can handle pain and when it comes to help others he can put himself aside completely, he even functions extremely well in the Emergency Room under stressful circumstances.
His illness becomes obvious when he falls asleep. Whenever he gets woken abruptly he goes berserk as it reminds him of things he survived “over there”. When he is at relative peace he also suffers from flash backs which trouble him a lot. Whenever he is under pressure he functions remarkably well.
There is a relationship dynamic to the whole thing (obviously, as we are talking Grey’s Anatomy here) that intensifies his symptoms.
I have the odd comment of vets on this blog, some of them have done a few tours in Iraq and I would love to hear what they have to say, should they have watched Grey’s Anatomy. One question I have, is whether it would be even possible for someone to be a trauma surgeon while suffering from severe PTSD?