JORDAN - Someday you'll be alone, way out there in a combat zone
Bullets flying all around, keep your head close to the ground
Don't you worry about being alone, Medics will bring you home!This marching cadence emphasizes the grave responsibility of medical personnel in the military. When sick or injured, there is no better sight than the face of a combat medic. Medics take care of Soldiers on and off the battlefield, for routine and emergency services.U.S. Army Maj. Michael Summitt, 38th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, Indiana National Guard, is the medical provider and officer in charge at Joint Training Center-Jordan's (JTC-J) troop medical clinic. He has served 33 years in the military, 22 as an enlisted combat medic. In the civilian sector, he works in the radiation oncology department at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana."A minor oversight or misstep can have tragic consequences for a patient," said Summitt, "The more eyes on a medical situation, the better the outcome will likely be."Medical personnel needs to practice just as with any other military occupational specialty in the Army. Soldiers must be ready to conduct the full range of military operations, regardless of the threats they pose. To facilitate this, JTC-J held a mass casualty (MASCAL) exercise. "Injured" Soldiers displayed artificial wounds made realistic by moulage."Without moulage, the simulated patient would have to describe their injuries, which takes away a significant degree of realism, thereby reducing the impact of the training," said Summitt.One Soldier who appreciated the MASCAL exercise was U.S. Army Pfc. Awnna Donahue, a combat medic with 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, 96th Troop Command, Washington Army National Guard."I personally worked with Maj. Summitt and he showed me a lot of new techniques that were very helpful and effective ways to deal with patients while under a lot of stress," Donahue said.Combat medics are essential to the military, but they can only work on one person at a time, treating the most severe first. If there are multiple casualties, or the medic is injured, combat lifesavers are instrumental. They are trained to provide immediate care categorized as care under fire, tactical field care and tactical evacuation."Combat lifesavers are, usually, among the first to encounter a casualty at the scene of the injury," said Summitt.About 90 percent of combat deaths occur on the battlefield before the casualties reach a medical treatment facility, according to the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Department of Combat Medic Training. Proper use of self-aid, buddy-aid and combat lifesaver skills can reduce battlefield deaths by 15 to 18 percent, by some estimates."MASCAL exercises help keep everyone fresh on the procedures and policies ... everyone from buddy-aid and combat lifesavers to the medical providers" said Summitt. "It also allows the medical personnel to locate our weaknesses and to better improve our procedures."Summitt said MASCALs can be noisy and chaotic. During the exercise, nonmedical personnel administered buddy-aid to "injured" Soldiers and helped transport patients to the troop medical center. Medical providers were then able to assess and treat the Soldiers."When we do have a medical crisis, it is important that our staff know their jobs and the jobs of others so they can fill in as needed," said Summitt. "In medicine, especially trauma or critical situations, hesitation can kill."