PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — In a deployed environment, medical response time and efficiency is key to rapid response and survivability of patients at the base.
On July 14, the 378th Expeditionary Medical Squadron conducted a trauma response exercise to practice its response, mitigation, treatment and evacuation of critically injured patients at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“This trauma response exercise was designed to test our response from the beginning of a traumatic event through the time that we would disposition the patient,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Pringle, trauma and surgical services lead, 378th EMEDS, “In this case, we practiced treatment and medical evacuation. It was also designed to help our new medics acclimate to trauma situations.”
During the exercise, thirty medical technicians got hands-on experience with dealing with a trauma patient in a fast-paced, stimulating environment.
“We taught some basic emergency medical service response things at the point of injury,” continued Pringle. “In the trauma bay, we took time to discuss neurologic evaluation in the trauma bay, needle decompression and chest tube placement, Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) exam and stabilization of fractures in the trauma bay.”
In this deployed setting, it is vital to understand and train as a joint, but cohesive, unit. A combination of U.S. Air Force Security Forces, Civil Engineers and Medics worked seamlessly with U.S. Army medical evacuation teams to ensure patient care and transport was rapid and effective.
“The training was important from a pilot perspective, because it provided us the opportunity with practicing approaches and landings at the LSA,” said U.S. Army Capt. Stokes, UA-60 pilot, Task Force Javelin. “From the medical side, our medic received single-provider training on paramedic-level task oriented skills. Considering the advanced level of interventions on the patient, the flight medic did really well.”
For the base’s first trauma response exercise, the 378th EMEDS personnel now have a realistic understanding of processes and can improve on patient care and transport.
“I think that we did well. We always have areas that we can improve on which is another important reason to do these exercises,” finished Major Pringle. “Our processes are solid and have been worked out with the MEDIVAC team over the last 6 months. The environment is challenging since we are in a medically austere environment but that’s the reason we practice our capabilities.”