Sunday, December 7, 2008

Combat Lifesavers All

Look out medical professionals everywhere - the Soldiers of the 211th are certified Combat Lifesavers!

Several years back, the Army revamped their policies and curriculum regarding the teaching of the Army first aid program (called, buddy aid at the time). What they determined is that teaching Soldiers a few advanced lifesaving techniques and providing them the medical equipment to go with it, would increase the mortality rate of Soldiers injured on the battlefield. Hence, the Combat Lifesaver Certification Program. I don't know the statistics of its success, but I have heard that an increase in life expectancy for injured Soldiers has gone up. Good news for us all.

So, that has been the focus for us this week. On the outset, I have to admit that I felt a bit intimidated by the course itself. Some of the advanced techniques I am referring to are things such as how to insert a Nasopharyangeal Tube into the nostril; how to perform a chest needle decompression for a tension pneumothorax condition and how to insert an IV catheter into a patient. The words of these procedures alone are enough to scare the bugga buggas out of you much less make the committment to perform such procedures if necessary.

Fortunately, the nose tube thing and the chest needle decompression are procedures we only practiced on medical mannequin's. Not so lucky on the IV insertion and infusion. That part was real - real challenging and scary.

As I mentioned in our chow (lunch) formation today, "there ain't nothin' like a good old fashioned blood-letting, to kick the day off." Every Soldier got the chance to be the sticker and the stickee. We had a couple Soldiers perform perfect sticks, without spilling a drop of blood. Others - not so much. There was blood everywhere. To put it into a phrase, "making someone bleed their own blood? Well, it just isn't normal."

However, when it was all said and done, we all passed. It was messy, but it was a success.

Kudos today go to SSG Ford. He hates needles - hates them, I tell ya', but he and his partner hung in there. He faced his fear and made his partner PFC Johnson face a little fear on the other end of the needle too.

That's what Soldiering is all about. Facing your fears. Most of us probably wouldn't choose on our own to undergo the training we've had this week, but we do it - we do our part. Heaven forbid we have to do it in real life, under grave circumstances, but if we are needed, we'll be there. It may be messy, but maybe we'll save a life.


- SSG Ford inserts a Nasopharyngeal breathing tube into a mannequin while SPC Alperin looks on.

- Soldiers practice loading and moving a casualty on a SKED (newfangled stretcher).

- Success! SSG Burrell makes the grade by successfully inserting and starting an IV drip in the able veins of 1SG Martinez.

- SGT Taylor checks the set up of an IV bag in preparation for his shot at a successful IV start.

- SPC Fardette cleans and secures the IV start for his final practical exercise. (bleeding arm courtesy of SPC Anderson)


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/08/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Familia Martinez said...

Glad to see that you all survived the needles...especially Ford...

Congrats to all for "sticking" with it and passing the course. Yes there was a pun intended there! =)