Pat Michaels: Doctor honored for combat surgery contribution

Date Published: 
Thu, 2007-03-01

Military doctors were in a dilemma. Soldiers were being wounded in far-off areas of Afghanistan and Iraq, yet immediate surgery couldn't always be performed to save their lives because of a lack of anesthetics.

Anesthesia, in most cases, is delivered through oxygen inhalation, but, in combat situations, oxygen tanks are dangerous to transport and almost useless in desert areas because they won't operate in dry and dusty conditions.

Checking the Internet, the military surgeons came across the Web site of Newport Beach anesthesiologist Dr. Barry Friedberg, who practices his art in the offices of local cosmetic and plastic surgeons.

Dr. Friedberg had become a pioneer in the field of portable PK anesthesia for in-office surgeries. His Web site tells how he provides pain relief from a briefcase and without bulky oxygen-delivered anesthetics. By using a propofol ketamine (PK) technique, he said, his patients woke up from their surgery with minimal discomfort and essentially no post-operative nausea.

Desperate to find a solution to their in-the-field combat surgery problem, the military invited Dr. Friedberg to come to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX and personally brief their doctors.

This past week, Congressman John Campbell delivered the government's thanks to Dr. Friedberg.

In a congressional proclamation citing the local anesthesiologist's "contribution to military anesthesia in Iraq and Afghanistan, sparing the need for anesthesia machines in field hospitals," it pointed out that lives have now been saved in the combat areas.

Dr. Friedberg seems dazzled by the citation. He points out the Congressional honor is a long way from his day-to-day work of anesthetizing patients for local cosmetic surgeons as they perform tummy tucks and breast implants.


Georgia Mahoney is telling this one down at Lido Village: Seems gondolier Jim Mahoney was gliding down the Newport Channel when a passenger glanced at the many waterfront homes flying the Stars and Stripes and asked, "Why are there so many American flags?"

She said Jim, somewhat startled, answered "Uh, because this is America!"


Chris Crosson has become the guru of doggie bags. No, not the kind you take home from the restaurant. His are the kind you need when you take your dog for a walk.

Currently, he's all excited about the orders pouring-in for his Color Coordinated Designer Bags sold in pet stores. They come in different colors and different fragrances..

It all started some 15 years ago, when Chris noticed folks walking around Balboa Island not picking up after their dogs did their thing. Much of the problem, he felt, was due to the fact people didn't always prepare for such an eventuality. Chris was certain if people had convenient sources for sanitary pick-up bags, the air around the Island's walkways wouldn't be as fragrant. He went to the city and got permission to put plastic-bag dispensers on light poles at convenient locations along the boardwalks and waterfront. That's when his company, Doggie Walk Bags, was born. Today his bags can be found at places where people stroll their pets around the world.

"If Chris hadn't of come along when he did," said grateful Balboa Island resident Charlie Graham, "this city would have had to find a way to make our sidewalks flush."


Personal note: Each year, I make it a point to take a cop to lunch on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. It's a small token of thanks to these brave men and women who daily put on a badge and a gun and go out onto our troubled streets willing to lay down their lives to protect us. If you get the chance, I hope you'll do the same.


Costa Mesa's Sally Barnard is a paralegal in a law office specializing in divorce. "From what I've seen," she said, "if divorce didn't separate some people, the police would have to."


Pat Michaels is the host of "Your Newport Today," seen Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. on Newport Beach Cable Channel 3 (Adelphia) or Channel 30 (Cox). E-mail him at patmike@verizon.net

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