News: Medics teach combat lifesaver with a twist
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Adam Shaw
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - This was combat lifesaver training with a new twist, combat lifesaver extreme.
Staff Sgt. Robert Norton, troop medical clinic non-commissioned officer in charge, 16th Sustainment Brigade wearing a drill sergeant hat, shouted at CLS trainees as they fought to save live, bleeding casualties in the trauma lanes, April 9.
"We added the extra pressure to ensure that Soldiers can tune out the noise and confusion and focus on saving a Soldier's life," said Sgt. Evelyn Pollard, medical non-commissioned officer, 16th Sust. Bde, and one of the combat lifesaver instructors. "When there is a casualty that may have injuries that are distracting, you may forget to check things that may kill. Something like the tongue blocking the airway is more of a problem than a broken arm that is not bleeding."
With a new "advanced moulage kit," a remote-controlled kit that spurts fake blood onto live, volunteer "casualties," medics taught nearly 40 Soldiers from a spectrum of Army occupational specialties life-saving medical skills here from April 6 to 9.
"I thought the day we did IVs on each other would be the hardest part, but the trauma lanes, with the shouting and squirting blood and multiple injuries was definitely harder," said Sgt. Keith M. Anderson, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sust. Bde. "I was so nervous I started to IV a casualty that was not breathing and had no pulse."
The over-capacity class of Soldiers from seven companies from the 16th Sustainment Brigade learned the fundamentals of "combat lifesaver," a course of instruction the Army teaches to ensure that Soldiers won't die on the battlefield from treatable injuries.
"In the 16th SB there are less than a hundred medics, and some are doing other jobs," said Pollard. "There are thousands of Soldiers in the brigade, and medics can't go on every mission and can't be at every place on the COB or on the battlefield, so the CLS is taught the life-saving steps that will save a Soldier's life until we can get to them."
Soldiers learned "care under fire," "tactical field care" and "combat casualty evacuation care," and the "ABC's" of checking Airway, Breathing and Circulation.
"Today's Combat Lifesaver is highly skilled, learning pertinent life-saving medical skills such as tactical combat casualty care, managing a casualty's airway, treating penetrating chest trauma, decompressing a tension pneumothroax, hemorrhage control, and initiating intravenous infusion as well as performing needed casualty evacuations," said Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hardiek, surgeon cell non-commissioned officer in charge, 16th Sust. Bde. "These carefully chosen lifesaving skills provide the most intervention to the major preventable causes of death on today's battle field and thus save lives."
Medics from "Jedi Base" have trained more than 300 Soldiers at Q-West since they took over the troop medical clinic here in August.
During the 40-hour course Students spent two days in classroom instruction, one day learning to administer intravenous infusions on each other, and one day outside running through trauma lanes.