Medic saves his own life

Story/Video posted December 15, 2017 in News by Emeling Navas

In May 2013 Adam Hartswick was on his second tour as an Army medic based near Kandahar, Afganistan. After saving many lives Hartswick was faced with the challenge of saving his own life after an improvised explosive device detonated near him.

Hartswick was responding to a call from a second platoon, which had been hit by IEDs, killing four of the soldiers. He was on the rescue mission against advice. Hartswicj said he hails from a military family had dedicated his life to serving by saving lives as an Army medic.

In the moment when the IEDs exploded Hartswick said time stopped for him. Initially Hartswick said he accepted he was going to die. As a soldier death was a certainty he had learned to live with.

Hartswick said he knew how to save his life, but couldn't physically do it. 

With Hartswick's instruction his platoon leader was able to apply tourniquets to both of his legs. 

It’s been four years since Hartswick was wounded in Afghanistan, losing both his legs and the trigger finger on his right hand.

Hartswick was transported to two hospitals in Afghanistan, then one Germany and eventually was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, where he was reunited wth his parents. 

Hartswick said that his parents were vital to his recuperation, providing a support system that helped him when he needed it most.

His parents had been divorced since he was a year old. During his recovery he said they hugged for the first time since their separation. 

Hartswick had to undergo numerous surgeries and rigorous physical therapy to be able to walk again with prosthetics. 

According to Hartswick he was contacted by Craig Hall, owner of Techline Technologies Inc, who had heard his story and was impressed by his quick response in an intense situation. Hall hired Hartswick for whenever he was ready to start working. 

For the last year Hartswick has been working with Techline Technologies Inc, teaching first responders the skills needed to respond to a terrorist attack or active shooter situation. Through his job Hartswick said he has regained a sense purpose—teaching people to save lives.

Hartswick entered the military straight out high school. In addition to working at Techline Technologies he is attending Penn State and just completed his first semester as a part-time student. Hartswick is undecided about his major but said he is hopes to study kinesiology.

'Stubbies or Shorties'


Adam Hartswick is a double above-knee amputee who uses “stubbies” to get around his house and work out. Hartswick uses stubbies because it's easier to wear than prosthetics with flexible knees when he needs to move around to complete simple tasks.