News: MedEvac duties for engineers
Story by Sgt. Lindsey Schulte
VINCENTE NOBLE, Dominican Republic – Deliberate and safe action is a main focus for the construction of the clinic in Vincente Noble, Dominican Republic for the humanitarian civic assistance mission, Beyond the Horizon 2014.
Soldiers from the 358th Engineer Company out of New Cumberland, Pa., take on additional duties as the medical evacuation security soldiers, litter pair and MedEvac requestor, as well as their engineer jobs of installing the electric and plumbing for the clinic starting May 19.
Site project manager Army Staff Sgt. Cody L. Schmidt with the 461st Engineer Company assigned to Task Force Larimar, briefs the MedEvac detail of their responsibilities in crowd control, shooing away animals roaming on the Helicopter Landing Zone (HLZ) and guiding the ambulance onto the HLZ for patient transport.
Unlike at the work site, where Dominican Republic soldiers guard the facility, the U.S. Soldiers will be the security force for the HLZ site.
The medic on site, Spc. Michelle G. Zanutto with the 145th Multifunction Medical Battalion based in Garden Grove, Calif., determines if a soldier requires hospital care.
A MedEvac needs to be requested when the medical attention the patient needs is beyond my medical practice, say you broke your leg, I don't have an X-ray machine here, said Zanutto, a native of Irvine, Calif.
If Zanutto's practice and equipment is not enough, the site officer in charge 1st Lt. Justin L. Counterman, from Newton, Pa., executive officer of the 358th, will request a MedEvac to the HLZ.
But there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid these call-a-MedEvac moments.
“It's usually soldiers not taking care of themselves,” said Zanutto.
75% of the medical emergencies Zanutto has treated in her medic career were from dehydration.
Luckily soldiers here take care of each other. Just as when Pfc. Savion M. Waller with the 358th, had to be ground transported to the Troop Medical Center, a battle buddy fetched Sgt. 1st Class Matthew A. Hivner, the site non-commissioned officer in charge with the 358th.
The 358th is determined to complete the mission and do it safely.
“The mission is vital, but nothing will ever be more important to me than the safety of my soldiers,” said Hivner.