Meanwhile, Maj. John Bini, the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group-Task Force Medical East trauma director, prepared for surgery.
"When [the explosive ordnance disposal team] arrived, we went to radiology and reviewed the CT scan again," Bini said. "They confirmed that this was indeed an explosive round that had not detonated."
Explosives experts told Bini that the impact detonator on the round meant that if he dropped it, it could explode.
"Their advice to me was 'don't drop it,'" Bini said.
While such surgical situations are a rare occurrence, Bini said the situation is something that Air Force doctors are told to anticipate.
"This is something we train for, and I train others for, albeit an uncommon event, and to this point the team functioned perfectly," he said. "Everyone did their job very well as a result of training and experience."
Bini, as well as the other Air Force doctors, said that while the operation was a delicate one, nerves were not a factor.
"I did think about my wife and children and was going to tell someone that if anything happened to let them know that I love them," Bini said. "I didn't though ... that's the surgeon in me coming out, we can be a superstitious lot."
As for the patient, even though the explosive did not detonate, the right parietal lobe of his brain was injured. Though it remains to be seen how much function he will lose as a result of the incident, the doctors said he will continue to recover, at least partially.
"The patient has subsequently been discharged from the hospital," Bini said. "He will be able to return to independent living, although he will have some left-sided motor deficits and possibly some minor cognitive deficits.
"When it was all said and done, it was just another day at the office. That's what good training, a strong supporting cast and great teamwork get you -- a positive outcome."