Dr. Poffenbarger—an Army neurosurgeon—says he performed up to seven craniectomies on soldiers a day in Iraq.
"I had decided when I went to Iraq that we were going to go straight to the wall for every wounded soldier," he says. "We weren't going to give up on any of them. In [Jessica's] case, she had a very devastating injury."
Dr. Poffenbarger says Jessica's condition when she arrived was bad and getting worse. "There was some thought she might pass away right there in the trauma bay, but I thought if we moved quickly, that we could save her," he says.
"I am so overwhelmed," Jessica says. "These are the hands that saved my life."