News: Seminar helps participants gain medical knowledge
Story by Lance Cpl. Krista James
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - Medical emergencies happen around us every day. How we react to them can be the difference between life and death.
Around 200 personnel and volunteers from 15 different placement centers in Ovidiu and Constanta, Romania, attended a seminar conducted by sailors from Black Sea Rotational Force 14 and soldiers with Task Force 6 team stationed out of Baumholder, Germany, at the Traian Placement Center in Constanta, Feb. 10-15. The seminar, lasting four hours a day, hosted different participants each day to receive basic first aid training which could be helpful at their respective centers.
“It’s important because the centers’ workers have a lot of frequent interactions with children, specifically children with various disabilities and who are at higher risk for medical issues. Knowing the basics of first aid will make them more comfortable working with those children and more capable of helping them if something happens,” said Lieutenant Theodore Demetriou, the medical officer for BSRF-14.
Along with Demetriou, different sailors and soldiers were able to attend the seminar each day in order to gain experience teaching classes.
“A lot of the junior sailors and soldiers don’t have a lot of experience getting in front of people and teaching, but being in the medical profession, the vast majority of what you do requires talking to people and being comfortable expressing information. Conveying medical knowledge is an important skill for anyone in the medical field,” said Demetriou.
Teaching various representatives for the placement centers demonstrates the importance of basic first aid in cases where personnel have to take care of a child until medical help can arrive.
“I think for the providers it is important to learn these skills so they don’t panic in case of emergency,” said Specialist Thomas Shields, a health care specialist with Task Force 6 team. “Of course, no one ever wants anything bad to happen, but if it does it’s good to know how to respond.”
The medical seminar consisted of classes about scene safety, assessing a patient, treating hemorrhage, splinting fractures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, choking and bite wounds, with strong emphasis on the ABCs of assessing a patient in every class. The ABCs of patient assessment are checking for an airway obstruction, uninterrupted breathing, and if there is proper blood circulation.”
Hospitalman Sean Wilson, a field medical technician with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, said that teaching the representatives was a very rewarding experience.
“I really enjoyed being able to stand in front of people and educate them on a little bit of what I do, and spreading the knowledge so hopefully, if they ever are in a situation, they will be able to help,” said Wilson.
With a high demand for classes and a limited amount of time, the medical personnel had to reduce the amount of information that they were teaching to the students.
“There is a lot we would have liked to go over, and everything that we did go over could have used more time,” said Demetriou. “With a very little amount of time everything was cut down significantly and we had to cut quite a bit out; specifically in referencing some of the issues that the children have like certain medical conditions.”
“I was thinking that we could have gone more into improvised splints and the same with bandages as well,” said Shields. “It would have been beneficial to go over different things that they could use other than ace wraps. I believe more ‘thinking out of the box’ things, for their cases, would be better.”
“I would have liked to go over the CPR portion because usually those classes are a full day in length, and we had to cut a lot of that out to be able to fit it in with the other things that we were teaching; it was all very basic,” said Wilson.
With most of the students coming to the medical seminar with very little first aid knowledge, and personnel having little experience teaching large groups of people, the medical seminar has proved to be a learning experience for both the participants, sailors and soldiers.
Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 are part of the first winter rotation of forces in the area that promote regional stability and security, maintain positive relationships with their partner nations, increase military capacity and interoperability, and are the crisis-contingency force in the Eastern European region. Sailors with BSRF-14 have directly contributed to mission accomplishment by engaging the local community and offering an opportunity for participants to increase their medical knowledge and proficiency in first aid.