Friday, December 1, 2017

Medevac Workshop

Recently, I took a study break to attend a workshop sponsored by the Army on medevac training. While it's not likely an Army doctor would be participating in a field medevac, it's important for them to know what goes on before the patient arrives at the CSH. The workshop's purpose was to inspire students who are maybe considering a career in military medicine. We had a mock chopper, which my friends and I did make a few jokes about:

The 68W (medic) and surgical tech who taught the course were really patient and knowledgeable. They simulated multiple scenarios that we students had to work through, such as a soldier who fell off a rooftop and cracked ribs, or a civilian child who stepped on an IED.

After explaining the situations and showing us a medic kit, we were given a medic kit and a litter and told to get to work.

When I attended STEP, I participated in a similar simulation and really enjoyed it, so I was excited for this one, but I realized I really didn't understand the key differences between the civilian and military wounded evaluations.

For many of our situations, we could have still be under active fire, so if our patient was conscious,we were to give them their rifle and let them sustain enemies while we treated the patient. "Treated" is really a loose term - basically, we should check HBAC and then get the patient behind a vehicle, unit, or low wall -anything out of the line of fire.

"HBAC? I learned ABC?!"

So did I, and many civilian EMS services still practice ABC. But based on info gathered from combat casualty medical personnel, the military has moved towards HBAC. The following are the average amounts of time it would take to die from wounds traditionally seen on the battlefield (or in an traumatic setting like an active shooter or tornado damage).  

  • Hemorrhage (severe arterial bleeding as the result of penetrating trauma, ie. stab wound, bullet wound, penetration of a tree limb from a car wreck, etc): 1-3 minutes
  • Airway obstruction (blood/debris in the upper or lower airway occluding the passing of oxygen into the lungs): 4-5 minutes
  • Tension Pneumothorax (air leaking into the pleural space inside the chest causing cardiac arrest due to penetrating trauma, ie. stabbing): 10+ minutes
  • Shock (poor perfusion leading to organ failure and death, usually due to severe blood loss in victims that did not immediately die within the first 1-3 minutes). These 3 minutes are what's known as the 'golden hour'


HBAC -( hemmorage, breathing, airways, circulation)

Overall, I learned a great deal, and am super appreciative for this unique opportunity. Several of my friends participated in this activity with me, and we all feel like we learned a lot.

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