News: MFST exercises advance trauma life support
Story by Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- Airmen from the Mobile Field Surgical Team participated in a medical exercise at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 27, 2014, to work on life-saving skills provided to wounded warriors.
An MFST is a group of medical professionals who support forward operations throughout the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility and Operation Enduring Freedom through advance trauma life support and critical care for service members wounded in combat.
Each team is made up of 6 members, which consist of surgeons, physicians, an operating room technician, and a nurse. The MFST is augmented by a three person Expeditionary Critical Care Team made up of a physician, a nurse and a respiratory technician.
"Our job is to forward deploy and set up our work station to provide immediate trauma life support for service members wounded in combat, which is rewarding to our whole team and the reason why we take exercises like this one seriously," said Capt. Laura Yaris, a critical care nurse deployed from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and a Saint Robert, Mo., native. "We have thirty minutes to set up and it's like brining a hospital to the fight in bags. It's important for us to practice treating patients and becoming familiar with our gear."
The exercise consisted of four patients who needed immediate medical attention. The MFST stepped in and began treating the patients as soon as they were on scene, Yaris said.
"When the exercise kicked off we received one patient who needed surgical intervention to stabilize, and the team did a great job in identifying what needed to be done," Yaris said.
After the first patient arrived, the MFST received more patients and had to decide the priority levels of the wounds suffered by the role players, Yaris said.
Senior Airman Ryan Bygraves, a surgical tech who is deployed from Nellis AFB and a St. Petersburg, Fla., native said, his job is important to the mental and physical health of service members.
"It's always a great experience to practice our strengths and address the areas we need to work on," Bygraves said. "Our job is important because we provide support for the service members who may be in harm's way. If we feel confident in our job to keep them alive if they are wounded, it helps them feel confident about their job so they can focus on the mission. They know we have their backs."
Mobile Field Surgical Teams act as a transition point to get patients to the next level of care and stabilize patients before they are able to be transported by air.
Maj. Logan Rawlins, an MFST leader who is deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and a Virginia Beach, Va., native said he was impressed how well the team performed during the exercise.
"The team did an outstanding job taking care of the patients and they were able to send them off to the next level of care efficiently," Rawlins said.
According to Yaris, taking care of service members is the best part of the job.
"Service members who make many sacrifices and protect our freedoms everyday are the most deserving of patients," Yaris said. "I'm very proud to wear this uniform and help those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice."