By 1st Lt. Steven Davis August 22, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- GAZIENTEP, Turkey -- "Help! Someone has fallen off a ladder, come quickly!" says a Soldier. Immediately four medics are on the scene, all of them calm and simultaneously performing different parts of the primary survey, an initial assessment of the accident victim.
One takes the lead on preserving circulation by controlling bleeding from the back of the patient's skull while maintaining proper control of the neck. The patient, who is Turkish, has no difficulty speaking, proving he has an adequate airway and an equal rise and fall of the chest as verified by a second medic. A third medic assesses for secondary injuries. The fourth medic checks neurological status and attempts to obtain any medical history through an interpreter.
The bleeding is eventually controlled and the patient is reassessed and monitored until the local Turkish emergency medical service arrives for transport. The entire patient encounter is fluid.
This local national's chances of death were significantly reduced due to the training and professionalism of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery's medics, currently deployed to Gaziantep, Turkey. The forward deployed medical section consisting of 10 medics provides medical care for more than 325 Soldiers and civilians, spanning three sites.
The medics did not reach their level of proficiency by accident. To deliver the health care 3-2nd ADA deserves, the medical section trains twice a week, retraining from TC 8-800 the Medical Education and Demonstration of Individual Competence. Through this training the medics are evaluated on their abilities to assess, treat and transport patients.
"The training lanes are stressful, but I would rather be stressed now and not later when my battle buddy's life may be at risk," said Pfc. Brandon Formyduval, one of the newer medics to the unit.
Examples of their collective and individual tasks range from treating for shock, performing a needle chest decompression and clearing airway obstructions. These classes are taught by a medic with a classroom and practical exercise components.
Once a week a medic is also responsible for preparing and presenting a class for the clinical setting. This allows these health care specialists to be well rounded and knowledgeable on a variety of disease processes. Examples of classes taught in the previous months have been "recognizing signs and symptoms of meningitis", "evaluation and treatment of concussions," "how to perform a knee exam", and "how to describe skin lesions." Not only are the medics trained to act reflexively on the battlefield, but they are also prepared to think critically and communicate effectively with other medical providers in the clinic.
The medics are preparing for a mass casualty exercise that will be held with other elements of 3-2nd ADA. To prepare for this and other large scale exercises, the medical section is retraining on patient decontamination procedures to train and lead other non-medical Soldiers during a chemical attack.
"I'm looking forward to the large drills. Everything is made more difficult when trying to treat Soldiers in a chemical environment with a splash of chaos," said Spc. Claudia Quintero.
Quintero and her peers realize the importance of their support role to the 3-2nd ADA and will continue to train hard knowing how vital they are to the overall success of this mission and future missions of the "Lethal Strike" battalion.