Mary E. Rogers
Dennis Haines and Doctor John Baldwin
June 3, 2004On the night of December 6, 1968, two AK-47 rounds struck and blew away the right side of Dennis Haines’s head. He was taken to the 24th Evac Hospital, where Drs. John Baldwin and Floyd Robinson operated on his brain. After it was believed he would live, he was sent to Japan, then on to Walter Reed, and finally home.
Further surgery to place a plate in his skull and two more years of intense rehabilitation followed, but despite that, Dennis has essentially no use of his left leg or arm, and stands only for short times with a locking steel brace. He is struggling to survive the Hepatitis C caused, most likely, by the 20+ blood transfusions that were necessary when he was wounded.
Dr. John and Dennis reunited through a post on a Veteran’s website. Then on June 3rd, 2004, Dennis and Dr. John met once again on the patio of the Marriot Hotel, in Ontario California. The embrace I witnessed between these two will be in my memory forever. I will be eternally grateful to Dr. John… not only for allowing Dennis to live, laugh, and love again… but for giving me that wonderful gift also.
My life has been worth living because I have been blessed with the love of this wonderful man. Dr. John would tell you that he did nothing out of the ordinary, but I believe he is an extraordinary man who God has used to bless my life more than I could have ever hoped for.
I have never been able to contact Dr. Floyd Robinson, but it is Dennis’ hope, and mine that we will one day be able to make contact with him also.
Sent to you to mend and heal
How many would survive?
They left the 24th Evac.
Some would surely die
Scenes never to be forgotten
Etched within your mind
Never knowing, always wondering
How many would you find
Thirty-six long years had passed
Your paths would cross again
You found one of those soldiers
Whose body you tried to mend
His life has been successful
The struggles were not few
But he had taken what was dealt
When he fought for the red white and blue
You met in Long Binh, Vietnam
Brought together by the hell of war
Doctor and patient reunited
In the year two-thousand and four
The Master’s hand took over
When your job was done
To love; to laugh, to live again
The “freedom bird” brought this one home
©Copyright October 19, 2004 by Mary E. Rogers
Please read the article by Doctor John Baldwin that is included in the Anthology, “What Do You Stand For?” and which is reproduced with permission on this website