We bring you the story of a member of the Croatian Catholic Medical Society, Doctor and Colonel Mirko Karačić, an employee of the Military Health Center, The Support Command and a specialist in internal medicine within the MOD system. With all the demands of such a career, Dr. Karačić exceptionally manages to harmonize this aspect of his life with family obligations, maintaining a happy and harmonious family with eight children and his wife who is also a doctor. His unwavering commitment and faith form the basis of his approach to military medicine.

When you meet Colonel Mirko Karačić, a military doctor, internist and family man who raises eight children with his wife, also a doctor, you immediately notice that he is guided by deep convictions. She balances all these roles with a special passion and dedication to help people. In an interview with The Croatian Soldier, he revealed to us how his faith influenced his decision to become a military doctor and how much it means to him in life.

Colonel Mirko Karacic is an employee of the Military Health Center, The Support Command and is the only specialist in internal medicine within the MOD system. With all the demands of such a career, Colonel Karačić exceptionally manages to harmonize this aspect of his life with family obligations, maintaining a happy and harmonious family with eight children and a wife who is also a doctor. His unwavering commitment and faith form the basis of his approach to military medicine, while he masters the various challenges that the field brings on a daily basis. Colonel Karacic deals with a wide range of clinical examinations and internist tests, including ergometry, KMAT, Holter ECG, abdominal ultrasound and much more. His specific focus is the examinations of military pilots, but he also conducts examinations of civilaviation personnel as an aeronautical medical examiner.

Experiences from the Homeland War

The road to success has not been easy. As a medical student, he joined the struggle to defend the sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia, first as a volunteer and then as a soldier-paramedic in the 150th Brigade of the Croatian Army. After completing his medical studies, he was recruited as a military doctor because of the needs in the field in Lika. He remembers how as a young doctor he set up a field clinic for newly arrived soldiers, conducting tetanus vaccinations before going to Lika. Field work consisted of preventive care, treatment of soldiers when there were no combat operations, as well as taking care of the wounded from the field and their rapid transport to the surgical team in the Gospić hospital during combat operations. As he admits, his biggest challenge was to take care of a wounded soldier in a quality and quickly manner.

One of his most challenging moments in his career as a military doctor was the situation on the ground in which as a young doctor a participant in the Homeland War he took care of a seriously wounded soldier. Mutual trust and teamwork are key. He remembers a specific situation in which with a medical technician and a group of scouts, they transmitted for a long time on a stretcher of a wounded soldier with a large wound to the thigh. They were able to stabilize the soldier by applying appropriate medical procedures, despite the challenge of handling them in combat conditions. Later, they learned that the soldier had successfully recovered after the operation, which brought them great satisfaction and confirmed the importance of a well-coordinated medical team in war conditions. Recording his experience with a wounded soldier and how, despite the challenges, they managed to stabilise him, he proved that his medical expertise, based on a strong religious background, had become instrumental in saving lives.

“My personal faith in Jesus Christ became a conscious decision and commitment 10 years before the beginning of the Homeland War, when I attended religious education with the late professor Tomislav Ivančić,” karačić said. “Looking back, I realize that I was then like a mustard seed from a parable that fell on fertile soil. God planted me in Croatia and the Croatian people and enabled me to grow my faith in parallel with my love for the people and the homeland,” he tells us sincerely, recalling the wise words of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac: “For a convinced Catholic, love for the people is not a subject of trade either for money or for glory, but it is a moral and ethical duty.”

Love for the homeland, first of all, aroused deep respect in him for Croatian defenders, who in carrying out their military service showed exceptional patriotism. Some of them spent all winters on guard, struggling with freezing to defend the homeland, while others were wounded, and some unfortunately gave their lives for it. “Because of this, my decision to serve in the military was not based solely on the need for a doctor’s position given that I was completing my internship. Then I was imbued with the idealism that as a young Croatian medical officer I myself would contribute to the development of the Croatian Army.” This combination of faith, patriotism and the personal needs of the military doctor took him to the field of historic Lika. These experiences invaluablely shaped his further professional development, giving him the opportunity to serve his country, while at the same time he continued to pursue his passion for medicine.

Faith as the main driver

His faith affects his daily life. “Prayer and the Eucharist give me the strength to give time and love to others: in the family—my wife and children, and in the workplace to patients whom I can help with my knowledge.” When asked how he aligns his religious practice societies with his obligations to the military and family, he answers honestly and pragmatically. “I work regular hours Monday through Friday. So I organized myself that whenever my obligations allow, During the week I go to the evening Holy Mass, either alone or with my wife,” he explains. He points out that daily prayer together with his wife and children, as well as the regular departure of the whole family for Sunday Holy Mass, provides family unity and stability. “God speaks to us through our conscience. It is especially important for every person and therefore it is necessary to develop and cultivate one’s own conscience.” The colonel adds that as a Catholic in the Croatian Army, he has the opportunity for spiritual care through military chaplains who can help deepen the faith and develop a conscience in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. He speaks openly about how faith helps him face personal and professional challenges: “I believe God will not give us a cross greater than the one we can carry. Seeking and accepting God’s will is crucial in the moments when I encounter injustice, whether in my personal life or professionally. When the door closes, it is often necessary to look back because God shows us the way and opens new doors. Sometimes it’s enough to just knock a little.” As a father of eight children and a doctor’s husband, he recognizes the challenges of balancing professional and family obligations. “I started a family relatively late, but I learned to organize.

On-call, field preparedness and business trips have required a lot of time, but a harmonious marriage makes it easy to carry out all professional obligations.” Faith, he says, plays a key role in doing his job as a military doctor. “It is necessary to conscientiously carry out all his duties, as well as the work of a military doctor. Everything is God’s work and every man deserves the best possible care.” Family obligations are unpredictable, but mutual sacrifice and trust provide a successful balance. He’s lucky to have colleagues who can replace him when he needs to. When it comes to the dynamics of family life, the presence of a wife who is also a doctor plays a key role. “My wife has a lot of understanding of my business obligations.

Father of eight children

In some professional matters, we can consult and complement each other,” karacic said. Family comes first for him, and given that they have six school children and two preschool children, as well as a child with special needs, family dynamics are never boring. “At the core of our family life lie joint adventures that take us over the peaks of the mountains that adorn the Croatian mountaineering ring road. Each peak is a special challenge and triumph for us, and the last one we won was St. Peter’s. Ilija on Pelješac, in a picturesque spring this year. What used to be a task just for us parents, to carry younger family members on our hikes, has now passed into the hands of our older sons who are adults enough to contribute. But over time, our priorities also change. Family hikes are becoming less common as weekends are filled with our children’s school obligations. Our daughters, in addition to regular school obligations, also attend music school, where they use their talents by making their musical contribution through the children’s parish choir. The three sons graduated from elementary music school, and some had already stepped towardsports or continuing their music education in high school. To make all the obligations of our large family work flawlessly, Google Calendar has become our invaluable ally, replacing old-fashioned pieces of paper with notes and reminders.”

Concluding our conversation, Colonel Karačić showed us how the military profession and family life can fit in perfectly. As a father of eight children, to whom he gives stability and love alongside his wife, he sees his life motto in faith, love and the work he does with passion and dedication. Despite the challenges provided by working in the military, he finds satisfaction in serving his country, his family and his vocation. With her example and achievements, she is an inspiration for all young people who are at the beginning of their medical career. Finally, the colonel’s advice for young doctors, regardless of the sector in which they work, is clear and simple: “Have faith in God, in your knowledge and abilities. Also, arm yourself with patience. There’s a Latin saying, “Omnia mea mecum porto.” Improve in knowledge and skills because no one can take away your own knowledge and acquired skills.”

His words are encouragement: not to be afraid of challenges, to invest in your knowledge, skills and character, and to be patient and endurance on your path. In military medicine, Colonel Karačić emphasizes the importance of professionalism, integrity, teamwork and love for the homeland. These values, he says, should be the basis of every doctor who decides to join the Croatian Army. Finally, he himself is proof that, with sincere faith, patience and dedication, life balance and success can be achieved. Through his exceptional career as a military doctor, Colonel Karačić learned how faith and support to a family can be the foundation for endurance, success and balance in life. May his commitment, family and faith be a reminder to us that, with true passion and unwavering faith, an extremely fulfilling and happy life can be realized. With such values at heart, there are no limits to what we can achieve.

Source: Croatian Soldier