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    PRT Farah medical team taking care of business



    Story by Lt. Chad Dulac 

    Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah

    FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah’s base medical team does more than treat the standard fare of sick call sniffles and pulled muscles at the gym while deployed in theater to western Afghanistan.

    The medical team, comprised of more than 25 PRT Farah Medical, 758th Forward Surgical Team and Charlie Company 1-168th General Support Aviation Battalion, medevac members perform a myriad of medical lifesaving operations on a daily basis.

    Forward Operating Base Farah’s battalion aid station plays host as the primary medical clinic, emergency triage facility and pharmacy responsible for treating the more than 1,200 military, civilian and Coalition members that live on the FOB. Even more extraordinary, is the critical treatment of additional US and foreign national trauma patients that are medevaced from combat areas all over Farah province.

    “The BAS plays a vital role, both in the day to day care of routine acute illnesses and injury, as well as triaging and providing care to critical medevac trauma patients,” said Lt.j.g Meghan Burns, PRT Farah medical officer. “The BAS also serves as overflow when the FST's two trauma beds and operating room are filled and additional patients arrive.”

    A diverse array of Army and Navy medical personnel, the BAS and FST’s roster includes: a general surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon, physicians assistant, nurse anaesthetist, registered nurses, Navy corpsmen and Army medics. With such a wide spectrum of necessary treatment, the partnership between BAS, FST and the aviation battalion, referred to as “Dust Off” is an integral one.

    The BAS team serves as the initial point of triage at the FOB, however the lifesaving process begins in the field.

    “We move very quickly over the battlefield to pick up wounded personnel and medically treat those patients on their way to a high level of care,” said Army Capt. Dustin Petersen, Dust Off flight officer.

    The Dust Off element, comprised of Army National Guard personnel from California, Washington and Nevada operating three medically equipped UH-60 helicopters, is constantly at the ready to respond to requests from U.S., coalition and Afghan service members within Farah province.

    “All of our flight medics are trained to at least the paramedic level. Most of our medics are civilian paramedics or civilian flight nurses back home,” said Petersen. “The same level of first responder care you expect back in America is what we are providing to troops injured in combat.”

    The first few vital moments receiving the call for wounded support, coupled with emergent care by the Dust Off field medics, prepares the medical team to receive wounded. The team is in constant communications with the tactical operations center on the FOB being informed of the type injuries, the number of wounded being medevaced and when they are arriving. If there is a large amount of wounded that arrive at once, the medical team is ready to support.

    “From their landing pad, [Dust Off] transfers the patient into the hands of the BAS team, who triage and assess the patient to determine their level of priority and hand off to the FST team for best possible surgical care,“ added Burns. “The BAS team assists the FST in doing the highest level interventions possible for the most critically wounded, as well as helps distribute patient load so that top level care may be rendered.”

    While incorporating three separate medical commands from three different services and parent commands might seem like a challenge, the BAS, FST and Dust Off have a distinctive and efficient battle rhythm in place to ensure the fastest and meticulous patient care.

    On any given week, on top of regular clinic visits and emergency patients, the medical team is busy coordinating and conducting training on stretcher bearer techniques, blood donor collection and management, X-rays, heat stress, combat lifesaving, massive casualty advanced trauma life saving and a dozen other critical care elements.

    PRT Farah’s medical team is a proven, synergistic integration of medical care. Despite having less than six months of service left in Farah, the medical team is trained and focused on a singular goal of saving lives and maintaining the health and wellness of coalition and Afghans alike.

    PRT Farah’s mission is to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial levels in Farah province, Afghanistan. Their civil-military team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. For more information about the PRT follow their page on Facebook at



    Date Taken: 07.14.2013
    Date Posted: 07.16.2013 02:23
    Story ID: 110238
    Location: FARAH PROVINCE, AF 

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