Casualty simulations prepare medics
Sailors from 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and Coast Guardsmen evacuate a simulated casualty during a Tactical Combat Casualty Care course. The Medical Battalion makes the course available to a variety of units on base, as well as other branches. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jon Sosner)
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, as well as Coast Guardsmen and Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit attended a week long Tactical Combat Casualty Care/Combat Lifesaver course here, recently.
The course, which is required for all medical personnel, consisted of four days of academics in a classroom setting, where students learned how to treat a variety of common combat injuries. After completing the classroom portion, the students were put into a real-life scenario practical application.
“There were simulated improvised explosive devices going off, smoke everywhere,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Benjamin Craig, a field radio operator augmented to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We had to quickly get to our patients, locate and assess their injuries, treat them and get them onto the casualty evacuation, all in a very high stress environment.”
Aside from the physical exhaustion that accompanies carrying mannequins that weigh in excess of 150 pounds, maintaining constant communication with the rest of team also adds to the stress.
“It’s key that they hit the ground running with communication,” said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Shannon Thompson, a Combat Trauma Management Instructor with 2nd Med Bn. “Students typically learn all the medical knowledge very well, but when combining the knowledge with the physical output and the high stress environment they can become disoriented. Overall, this group did very well.”
For many of the students, mastering the four-day classroom evolution was critical to their success on the final examination.
“Muscle memory really takes over,” said Craig. “The second I got to my first casualty, I was using the training I was taught and subconsciously going through the steps. The training just kicked in instantly.”
2nd Med Bn. encourages as many units as possible, whether Navy or Marine or Coast Guard, to take part in the TCCC/CLS course. Any unit on base may participate in it.
“You never know when you’re going to need to treat someone, whether it’s minor or significant, like a mass casualty scenario,” said Thompson. “Having this knowledge from being a Marine, Corpsman or anything else could be useful at a time when you least expect it.”
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