New family clinic opens in ES

Friday, October 16, 2015

Even though Dr. Chris Baranyk served with Forward Operating Teams and saved lives in Afghanistan, he said that in medicine, it's the little victories that count.

Baranyk moved from Fairbanks, Ak. to Eureka Springs with his wife and daughter a month ago and will be practicing at the Eureka Springs Hospital Family Clinic which opens Monday across from Passion Play Road.

He went to medical school at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and got a degree in Osteopathic medicine. He did his residency at DeWitt Army Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Va. and practiced medicine in Alaska for five years. Baranyk also serves in the Arkansas National Guard. He considered surgery but finally settled on family medicine after he was deployed to Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013.

It was Kapiza, Afghanistan where he cut his teeth on medicine.

"Kapiza is an important area because there it has a valley opening into Pakistan and it was the job of the French to protect that area but once the French president ran and said they are getting their guys out partly because of a suicide bombing at that location, then they stopped fighting so all the Taliban in the area would cut their teeth by coming up to the post and just shooting at it."

Baranyk and the U.S. troops he was deployed with refused to let the holdout fall.

"When our team came in right behind a Forward Operating Team which was first ID first came in and went up on the guard towers to shoot, the French were shocked, they said 'We don't do that,' and we were like 'We do that now.'"

"We had multiple Special Forces units with us to make sure that area stayed safe," he said. "There was literally a road, our post, then tree line and bad guys and we would just shoot at each other every day. It was very kinetic so we had four teams in different areas of Afghanistan ours was the only one seeing any combat."

Baranyk said he tended to forces on both sides that were severely wounded and recalled one time when he helped soldiers who were burned on 80 percent of their body.

"We saw anything from through and through shrapnel wounds to missing arms and limbs and we were able to stabilize everyone and get them packaged and thrown out either through our own abilities our using the Afghan services. None wounded were U.S. but were all supportive fighters," he said. "I saw a group of guys who had wounds throughout 80 percent of their body. There's nowhere to put an IV so I had to go in through their bones."

A lot of people don't realize that when medical teams are deployed they serve all sides, per the Geneva Convention.

"You have to also help the enemy sometimes. We were supposed to be working with Afghans but they didn't really want to play along because we were doing all the work," he said.

Baranyk said he and his wife settled on Eureka Springs and Carroll County because they want to raise their daughter in an area that is open-minded.

"My wife knew this area because an uncle got married here when she was younger and it's a fun kind of small town," he said. "We want to raise our child in a place that is open-minded and safe where we could have land and some freedom and we don't want to live in a subdivision, we live here and have 60 acres and are looking to buy more."

Baranyk said he wants to not just serve patients in Eureka Springs but all of Carroll County and once the practice grows, he would like to do boutique medicine and provide services to help with painless tattoos and also help with dermal piercings.

"The plan is for this clinic to be a stand-alone branch of the hospital and if this becomes profitable and then we will look for more doctors," he said. "The reality is that all the physicians in the area are getting older so with that said, in next five to 10 years, the city and county will be at a deficit for physicians."

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