News: Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility brings care to service members, support to local medical facilities
By Lance Cpl. Franklin E. Mercado
CAMP BASTION, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — Service members are often in harm’s way while deployed to a combat zone. In these situations, casualties eventually happen.
The current operational tempo requires medical facilities that are always readily available. The 451st Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility here is one such facility.
Although the CASF was officially opened, Feb. 1, it started taking patients, Jan. 18, in support of the United Kingdom’s Joint Task Force Med-South, in order to supplement the capacity of Bastion’s Role III Hospital during combat operations.
With a staff of more than 25 Air Force personnel from 10 different bases, it has the manpower and equipment to accommodate up to 250 patients.
"The CASF is a unique asset," said Air Force Lt. Col. JoAnn Danner, the 451st CASF flight commander. "It offers additional services and care to those patients who wouldn’t be a priority if they were in the main hospital."
The CASF has service members working around the clock to ensure the patients’ needs are being met.
"I’ve been treated well while I’ve been here," said Lance Cpl. Matthew Work, a machine gunner with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan. "The facility is great and I’ve been recovering well."
Patients are usually held for up to 72 hours, but there are exceptions, said Danner.
"Some patients just go back to their units," said Danner. "Such is the case for Lance Cpl. Work. He won’t be flown out, instead, just wait for recovery and return to his unit."
Danner has also referred to her job at the CASF as a humbling experience.
"This is the best job in the Air Force," said Danner. "Being able to care for our wounded heroes and to hear them give thanks is great."
These men and woman who put their lives on the line appreciate the little things being done for them at the CASF, said Danner.
The CASF has treated over 100 patients from the time it first began accepting patients, Jan 18. It has also helped the Role III Hospital increase efficiency, providing additional holding capacity and given patients, who would normally have to wait, the proper care they need. Although the CASF was just opened, it has proven to be a valuable asset to aid in the recovery of wounded coalition forces.
Date Posted:03.11.2010 02:17
Location:CAMP BASTION, AF
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