NEWS | Feb. 15, 2018

Critical Care Teamwork | Navy, Army, and Air Force Personnel Perform En-route Medical Care Training

By Lance Cpl. Isabella Ortega 3rd Marine Logistics Group

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan -- U.S. military personnel with 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group demonstrated Naval en-route care procedures alongside Army and Air Force personnel during a training evolution Feb. 13, 2018, at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, Okinawa, Japan.

The medical personnel simulated en-route care procedures, focusing on familiarizing and expanding joint interoperability of patient evacuation from the point of injury on the battlefield to advanced medical care at a Role Two field hospital.

Navy Lt. Sarah Handy, the simulation department head for 3rd Medical Battalion, said this course will help combat readiness in preparation for real-world scenarios. She said it shows Army and Air Force personnel the capabilities and limitations the Navy has, in order to organize further progression of care for critically-wounded individuals.

The training took place on MCAS Futenma as well as Torii Station over the course of two days. The training included treating simulated casualties with gunshot wounds, burns and shattered limbs.

Handy said this training is especially necessary for working with the Air Force critical care transport teams (C-CAT). She said the C-CAT teams pick up the patients after the patients complete the initial round of advanced trauma care through the Role Two medical hospital.

A Role Two medical facility treats casualties with traumatic battlefield or industrial injuries and stabilizes them for transfer to medical facilities that offer a higher echelon of care. During the demonstration, a shock-trauma platoon demonstrated initial trauma care for two simulated casualties, treating them for injuries and illnesses like hypothermia before loading them into an ambulance and transporting them to a waiting CH-53 Super Stallion.

Inside the aircraft, Navy medical personnel outlined the various procedures involved in caring for patients during air transportation, including ensuring the correct amount of medication is brought with the team on the aircraft to last the duration of the flight, as well as monitoring blood pressure and heart rate. Altitude during the flight is also a consideration for the medical teams as it could impact the patient's oxygen levels, which is specifically concerning for those patients receiving oxygen artificially.

“My favorite part was using the equipment I don’t get to use very often,” Handy said. “I can read and learn out of a manual or off of a PowerPoint, but this is hands on, doing the work with your feet in the dirt; this is my favorite part.”