News: Surgical Suit Brings Cutting Edge Training to Army Combat Support Hospital
Story by Sgt. Jon Soles
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – The latest in cutting edge medical technology has made its way into the Army’s inventory in the form of a life-like silicone human body simulator. The new device is making rounds and getting lots of attention at collective training exercises, where it allows Army doctors and nurses to rehearse their life-saving jobs with greater accuracy and realism than ever before.
The Human-Worn Partial-Task Surgical Simulator, known as the “cut suit,” made its demonstration debut for Soldiers at the 399th Combat Support Hospital CSH), 804th Medical Brigade, 3rd Medical Command, during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX), April 2. This event is a large scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Army Reserve and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers from more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.
The $60,000 suit, worn by a live person, contains fake blood, organs and even breakable ribs. It is designed to simulate traumatic battlefield injuries. Three of these new cut suits are here at WAREX.
“The cut suit is the next generation in realistic medical training,” said Master Sgt. Tinamaria Reese, a native of San Antonio, Texas, who is noncommissioned officer in charge of operations at Medical Readiness and Training Command. “It has a pumping system that allows blood flow, organs are in the appropriate location within the chest and any kind of surgery from the sternum down can be performed.”
Soldiers in the 399th CSH on Forward Operating Base Freedom encountered the cut suit for the first time when a Soldier wearing the simulator was rushed into the emergency room with a realistic-looking gunshot wound.
After a quick examination, Army surgeons ordered an exploratory laparotomy – an operation opening up the patient’s chest and abdomen allowing doctors to see internal trauma. The doctors discovered the liver had been penetrated by a bullet, but their quick actions saved the injured Soldier. The surgeons who performed the delicate operation on the new cut suit gave it high marks for its use as a medical training device.
“Performing care on real patients is the best way to improve our skills, but this new cut suit is definitely another tool in the toolbox, allowing us more realistic training than we could get up until now,” said Col. Robert Sheridan, a native of Boston who is a doctor assigned to the 399th Combat Support Hospital CSH), 804th Medical Brigade, 3rd Medical Command.
“We made the incision just like we would in a real operation,” said Yaffe, a native of Boston who is a doctor assigned to the 399th Combat Support Hospital CSH), 804th Medical Brigade, 3rd Medical Command.
“It was much more realistic than I thought it would be.”
After every operation, the cut suit is repaired and made ready for the next training event. The suit comes with many components including re-usable skins, removable internal organs and Kevlar plates to protect the Soldier wearing the suit from accidentally being cut by the doctor’s scalpel.
Reese said the suit represents another level of training to help medical Soldiers be better prepared to save the lives of warriors wounded in combat.
“The best training for our medical personnel is to make that training as realistic as possible, and this cut suit is the next generation,” Reese said. “The suit allows proper medical intervention, ranging from surgery to chest decompression.”
Whether it’s a surgeon’s skilled hands or a nurse’s knowledge in triage, the cut suit now provides practical hands-on experience, helping Soldiers saves precious lives on the battlefield.