Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mass Casualty and 65th Annversary of D-Day

Good Evening,

I want to update everyone on what has been going on. Yesterday we had a post wide mass casualty drill. My job was to go out to the triage area out at the gate where patients were being brought in from off post. I was an evaluator for our EMS (ambulance) services. The role that EMS has in a mass casualty is to coordinate and mobilize injured patients to the next higher echelon of care. As you can imagine when an incident occurs and there are dozens of injuries, the basic triage of the injured and the timely transport of each patient to the hospital is essential.
So, we set up a large triage area and I evaluated the appropriateness of how patients were categorized. Obviously the more seriously injured (immediate) are stabilized and have priority of care. The more stable patients are categorized as delayed or minimal. These patients can actually be diverted to another facility for care so as to not burden our ER. We also have patients that are categorized as Expectant. These are patient’s who may still be living, but will have little chance of surviving even with immediate care. Unfortunately, these patients are left mostly unattended while patients who have a chance to make it can receive necessary care.
Our post wide exercise went well. We had good coordination with the Air Force medical team and our ambulance section was very efficient. By the time, our EMS arrived on scene, they had patients triaged and had the first load of injured on there way to the hospital in 12 minutes.
We had some problems with our medics losing focus on what injuries were essential to treat at the scene and what injuries could be left for the hospital staff to address. It is easy to want to start treating an open wound that has been bleeding profusely but if we forget to focus on establishing a good airway for that patient then it really won’t matter what we do to the open wound, the patient will not have a good outcome.
But overall our guys did well. We certainly could have done a little better job at coordinating the location of where the injured were being sent. The immediate all went to the ER, but we had about 18-20 injured soldiers who were sent to the Phipp’s TMC and they were unaware of these patients coming in. So, as you can imagine, they were jumping through hoops to accommodate this influx of patients. Travis handled that area for us and he was able to move them through fairly quickly.
During the exercise, we were notified that a young boy about 8 years old was coming in from one of the local villages. He was working on a cement mixer. He was on a platform pouring sand into the mixer when he fell and landed on the edge of some concrete blocks. He had a large laceration over his lumbar spine and he had no feeling from his waist down. We stopped our exercise and pushed him forward immediately. As we took that boy from the back of the ambulance and transported him inside, my heart ached. I simply cannot imagine my child living in a world where she is not allowed to go to school but instead sent out at such a young age to work in the blazing hot sun doing work that most adults in America wouldn’t do. I have really learned to appreciate the life that the Lord has given to us in the United States. At some point, we have to use our blessings to help others out of this type of life.
Anyway, the day ended with word that one of our Air Force guys was hit with a roadside bomb. The hospital worked on him for five hours and used every unit of blood that we had but it wasn’t enough. Just another tragic outcome to this senseless conflict.

As I returned to my room last night, I was thinking about this young man and the price he paid. I have to wonder what we are doing wrong. We pride ourselves as a society that we are enlightened and that we have matured, yet we still cannot manage to deal with disagreement without sending our young people to go forth into war and to give their lives. Is this really the best we can do? I don’t care what religious faith a nation believes in or what political differences we have, is war still the only way to handle our differences? I would like to think we are better than that. I pray for peace.
Today, is the 65th anniversary of D-Day. I am still amazed at what those who hit those beaches at Normady did. They showed incredible bravery and resolve to keep moving forward under such circumstances. I have such admiration for those who sacrificed so much.
Anyway, the clinic is running well and our medics are doing great. I realize the very special group of kids that these soldiers are and I am very aware of the incredible memories that I will have as a result of this experience. It is amazing that the Lord has provided a 43 year old man to have such an adventure.
By the way, most of you guys know Leslie and Mary. They are our state’s medical coordinators and they are awesome. Well, Leslie will be deployed to here and will relieve us as we pull out of country. It was really nice to hear from them. The friendship that I have with them has been an amazing blessing for me. Mary’s daughter is still in high school and her husband is getting ready to be deployed, so I pray that she can avoid a deployment for another year.

Leslie will be deploying with John, her boyfriend, and so that will make their time much more tolerable. I am excited about seeing them both very soon.
Well, I again want to thank everyone for checking in and for your encouragement. May the Lord bless and keep you all safe. Please take time to pray for others and discover the amazing blessings that the Lord will bestow when you lift others up in prayer.
God bless,

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