Ironhorse medics adapt, never rest
October 1, 2009
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - Adapting to new environments can be part of a Soldier's everyday life -especially when deployed to Iraq.
Medics from Company C, 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have finally settled into the Hale Koa Medical Facility, here, after relocating from Joint Security Station War Eagle in August.
"Our responsibility has doubled since we arrived to Taji," said Columbia, S.C. native, Spc. JosAfA Guzman, a medic assigned to Co. C. "There are more people in our [area of operations] and we also take care of other JSS's and camps that don't have access to some of the equipment that we do."
The Hale Koa Medical Facility is very different when compared to the small aid station at JSS War Eagle. The medics at Camp Taji have access to trauma rooms, a helipad, and a laboratory; with a dental clinic located across the street. The accommodations allow the staff to provide Soldiers with more service than any other clinic in the area.
"I like knowing that we have all the assets together in one place," said Guzman. "We have trauma and evacuation together which we didn't have at JSS War Eagle. We don't have to send them somewhere else - saving time and possibly a life."
The facility is the largest in the "Ironhorse" Brigade's area. Access to advanced equipment means the Co. C medics see more severe injuries-those that can't be treated at smaller clinics. Besides illnesses and injuries, the Co. C medics are also responsible for the health of the 8,000 people that call Camp Taji home during their deployments.
While at JSS War Eagle, medics typically treated two to five patients per day, most of which were sick call patients. However, at Taji the number has increased to 14 to 25 people per day. Most of the visitors are still seen for sick call, but due to the number of cases that the medics see, a larger variety of ailments are treated, said Conroe, Texas, native Spc. Anna Hatfield.
"There is a pretty good flow of people that come through here every day," said Guzman. "We expected it to be busier and we prepared for it before we left War Eagle."
The increased flow of patients has created new responsibilities for most of the medics. By using their skills more frequently and treating symptoms they may not have otherwise seen, the medics are capitalizing on the opportunity to hone their skills.
The move to Taji has heightened the responsibility of everyone in the aid station, and the move has been successful.
"I love working here," Guzman said enthusiastically. "I like how I can work on different aspects of being a medic, and learn something new every day."