115th CSH shows off new technology to BJACH commander
By T.C. BRADFORD
Public affairs specialist
FORT POLK, La. -- The 115th Combat Support Hospital traces its roots to Fort Riley, Kansas in World War I when it was constituted as Evacuation Hospital No. 15. It came into service while deployed to France where it earned a battle streamer for service during the Meuse-Argonne Forest offensive. If you could take a trip in a time machine and examine the hospital, you would see how primitive the facilities and medical practices of the day were compared to the modern CSH.
Through the years, evacuation hospitals were replaced by the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital made famous by the hit CBS television series, "M*A*S*H" starring Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Harry Morgan, Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson and a host of others.
As technology and medical practices evolved, so did the CSH. Today's modern hospital is a modular unit that can be set up in a matter of hours after reaching its deployment theater. It is a hard shell, climate-controlled unit that can be staffed by up to 600 Soldiers and is equipped with up to 248 beds. It has a pharmacy, sterile operating rooms and X-ray facilities and can even offer dental care.
The main purpose of the CSH is to serve as a midway point of care between medics on the battlefield and a fixed hospital unit in the rear. They triage, stabilize and prepare the most seriously wounded for evacuation to a hospital like Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany or Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
They are there to care for U.S. forces, but in certain cases may treat enemy combatants and even civilians. Another bonus from being modular is that the entire hospital does not have to deploy for every mission. If a small clinic is needed or radiological services, just those sections of the hospital can be packed up and deployed.
The 115th Combat Support Hospital falls under the 32nd Hospital Center at Fort Polk. The 32nd HC is commanded by Col. Lee Burnet and Command Sgt. Maj. Dolores Kiyoshi. The 115th CSH trained on setting up the hospital and practicing patient drills Aug. 12.
Burnett invited Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital commander, Col. Jody Dugai, to tour the facility. It was the first chance Dugai had to check out the updates the Army has incorporated into the hospital.
"The changes made to the tents and medical equipment are fantastic. The tents are easier to erect, not so labor intensive for the Soldiers," she said.
"The medical equipment has been updated to give providers more capabilities in a deployed setting. The equipment upgrade also allows for better patient care in the event patients have to remain in a field hospital longer than they did in the past. I am very excited about the improvements."
Dugai said the CSH and BJACH are on the same team with the same mission of providing quality care to patients in their respective facilities.
She said it's important for BJACH and the CSH to work together as any health care provider from medical technician to physician can be tasked to work in either facility.
"We both provide training in different ways to our healthcare providers," she said.
"BJACH provides the daily clinical care that allows our medical team to have the skill proficiency to provide care worldwide at a moment's notice. The field hospital allows our medical team access to deployed medicine by training on equipment and processes that are different from a typical stateside facility."
She explained how BJACH and the CSH fit into the "one team, one fight" concept.
"There is a close relationship with a field hospital and the installation medical treatment facility because we have the same purpose: Taking care of Soldiers and returning them to the fight. At some point, my team or I will be performing duties within one of these units."
Dugai said she was impressed with the technology and staff of the 115th CSH and was confident in their ability to provide first class care to patients treated in a deployment situation.
"We have proven this over the last 18 years. We have the highest survivability rates ever during conflict. This is due to close relationship between fixed facilities like BJACH and field hospitals like the 32nd Hospital Center," she said.
Cutline: Members of the 115th Combat Support Hospital brief Col. Jody Dugai (right) commander of Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, on the new capabilities of the CSH during her tour of the facility Aug. 12. (Photo by T.C. Bradford)