WESTHAMPTON BEACH, New York – Victims were all around them. Twenty people were lying dead or dying.
Wounded ambulants were bleeding regularly and arriving, all in need of immediate treatment. The radios crackled with messages about the patients, their whereabouts, their transportation and the safety of the area.
The Airmen knew the day was coming and their skills and courage would be put to the test – in this culmination of their week-long training in mass casualty response at Air National Guard Base in Gabreski on June 11, 2021.
The training and exercise June 7-11 for 22 Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing Medical Group, focused less on traditional individual medical readiness, and more on supporting the wing in a deployed environment after an incident resulting in numerous casualties, according to Lt. Col. Stephen Rush, the commander of the 106th Medical Group.
The group leaders worked together to develop, analyze and lead a training that would include lectures, in-depth discussions and hands-on exercises, Rush said.
The emphasis was on triage – assessing and prioritizing required levels of care and patient transportation. The exercise scenarios encompassed the many moving parts involved in a multiple casualty event, he explained.
Members practiced carrying stretchers, or litters, for transporting the wounded; radio communication with the medical treatment facility and operations within and in conjunction with security forces for the safety of patients and Airmen providing care.
Identifying the deceased and establishing funeral affairs were all part of the exercise. The goal was for them to deal with the same conditions and requirements that apply to a real battlefield, Rush explained.
“There (are) so many aspects to it,” Rush said. “We want to be able to deploy as a Med group with the wing as needed, and to be able to handle any issues that we are facing, and we have said that many times. ”
Rush, a former flight surgeon with the 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, is co-author of the New Military Approach to Mass Loss Management, as part of the department’s Joint Trauma System organization of Defense, or JTS.
JTS is a Department of Defense effort dedicated to reducing morbidity and mortality and improving the survivability of all trauma patients in times of war and peace, he explained. .
JTS officials collect information on trauma treatment from military medics around the world and then produce advice on best practices that help save lives, according to the organization’s website.
The Airmen learned advanced yard assessment techniques that were newer than those learned even by the most recent graduates of the Air Force Medical Technical School, according to Master Sgt. Joseph Knoetgen, aerospace physician.
The exercise showcased the skills that will be taught to military medical personnel as part of the Joint Trauma System.
For Airman 1st Class Gariel Quintuna Calle, an aerospace medical technician who has just completed his seven months of technical school, the exercise was his first training with the wing.
The entire week has been revealing, Calle said. “I learned a lot,” he says.
In tech school, he was taught to color code victims based on the extent of their injuries, but during training he learned to classify them the same way paras rescuers do throughout the world. ‘Air Force.
YOU MUST EXPLAIN WHAT IT IS.
The adaptation to the method used by paratroopers is intended to facilitate a more cohesive relationship within the squadron, especially when deployed, Calle explained.
The medical administrator, Major Mark Wilborn, and the head nurse, Captain Rosemarie Tracy, planned the exercise.
The team rehearsed and troubleshooted situations to minimize challenges and maximize focus on learning goals, explained.
Knoetgen sought comments and advice from Rush, Wilborn and Tracy, and attributed their collaborative effort to the success of the training.
“They were confident they would do the job they needed to do and that is most important because it is our foundation,” Knoetgen said.
“Step number one is to save someone from the battlefield… That’s what it was… Just a basic assessment, save them, get them out of harm’s way, and then figure out what to do next. And I think we’ve done a good job at that, ”he said.
“They all adopted it and they were confident they would do the job they needed to do,” he added.
The training was also designed to help medical aviators cope with the stress of operating in a combat environment, Rush said.
As deployments became longer and more frequent, members were often unprepared for the emotional toll of war, he explained.
Airman 1st Class Catalina Garcia Canas, an aerospace medical technician, said the exercise and training focused on difficult calls that could lead to guilt later.
Doctors’ assessments of the injured could be subjective and based on the conditions presented at that time, when critical decision-making is needed, he explained.
Deciding that a seriously injured person could survive with medical care could allow a less injured person with a better chance of survival to deal with them, he added.
“I think it brings us a little closer and we want our staff to be prepared for the mission,” Canas said.
In his experience, the better trained people are, the more likely they are to go through combat exposure without emotional consequences and grow from it all, rather than being hurt by realities, he said. added.
Rush and Airmen from the medical group said they plan to build on the skills learned during the training.
This includes the regular design and conduct of medical exercises implementing new techniques developed by JTS, Rush said.
|Date posted:||06/21/2021 1:56 PM|
|Site:||WESTHAMPTON BEACH, NY, United States|
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