Sailors hold health services augmentation program training
Navy field medical service technicians, along with Navy Health Service Augmentation Program personnel prepare a mock casualty for evacuation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tony Simmons)
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Recently, Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion held a mass casualty exercise as part of their health services augmentation program at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The training allowed Navy medical personnel from the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital, along with other units, the opportunity to work together during a scenario, which simulated multiple casualties arriving in their forward operating base for treatment.
“The purpose of the drill is to work as a cohesive team and understand the flow of patients in a mass casualty environment,” said Navy Cmdr. David Barrows, the director of surgery at the hospital and the officer-in-charge of the shock trauma platoon and forward resuscitative surgical system. “The patient arrives, would undergo resuscitation, possible surgery, holding and then evacuation to higher echelons of medical care.”
During the training, teams of Sailors would rush outside of their tent to a simulated helicopter to receive a patient. They would then bring the patient to the tent on a stretcher and get to work treating their injuries. Participants encountered simulated injuries such as amputations, blunt force trauma, gunshot wounds and stab wounds.
Once a patient was stabilized, teams would rush back to the helicopter to secure them for evacuation and tend to the next patient.
“The exercise is designed to introduce as many scenarios as would be found in a forward deployed environment,” said Navy Petty Officer Second Class Christopher Grzebyk, a hospital corpsman and instructor during the exercise.
For Sailors, the realism came not only from the patients on their stretchers but the stress of working with limited resources and personnel.
“The biggest challenge here is to understand how to prioritize your patients, especially in a chaotic environment where you have a fear of the unknown,” Barrows said. “Sailors must trust their teams and devote the right resources to each individual patient that comes in.”
According to Grzebyk, the Sailors of their respective units could be called upon at any time by II Marine Expeditionary Force to support operations in a deployed environment. This training serves to strengthen their skill set for when that time comes.
“The training is valuable for any medical Sailor learning the operation of an HSAP, and how to effectively contribute as part of it,” Grzebyk added.
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