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    A Cut Above - Army Reserve Surgical Training

    A cut above - Army Reserve surgical training

    Photo By Carrie Castillo | From the right, Maj. Sina Haeri, medical surgeon, San Antonio, and Lt. Col. Raymond...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Army Reserve Medical Command

    Story by Staff Sgt. Carrie A. Castillo

    FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Medical Readiness and Training Command, San Antonio, Texas, participated in the 86th Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise/Global Medic between April 26 and May 16, 2014, it was one of the largest Army Reserve joint training exercises to date.

    During the CSTX/GMJE the Medical Readiness and Training Command introduced a new approach to the concept “train as you fight”. The Human Worn Partial Task Surgical Simulator, or Cut Suit for common terms, was introduced to all of the medical personnel participating in the exercise here.

    Master Sgt. Tinamarie Reese, combat medic, and Sgt. 1st Class Kristina Boettcher, licensed practical nurse, both of MRTC, San Antonio, Texas are only two of the 6 personnel that were trained and certified to work with the cut suits of Strategic Operations from start to finish during the exercise.

    “The neat thing about these cut suits is we can “heal” them,” said Reese. “This gives us the opportunity to have a 24 hour turnaround time on any one of the suits we have here. We prepare one to be worn on a live person with any type of wounds we choose, to create different scenarios for the folks out on the base camps. When they have completed the scenario, we bring the cut suit back and begin the healing process by cleaning it and then closing the cuts with clear silicone.”

    “The cut suit allows them to be able to provide invaluable training to go beyond notional training and be able to actually go through the process of real surgery,” stated Boettcher.

    The whole process with the cut suit is to plan out the scenarios to be given to the personnel at either the Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) that is being operated by the Navy, or the Combat Support Hospital (CSH) that is operated by the Army.

    Once the scenarios and wounds are planned, then the Soldiers such as Reese and Boettcher get to work choosing which organs will be damaged by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), a gunshot wound, or even adding live parasites (earthworms) to the intestines.

    “We try to make everything as real as possible, yesterday we added live earthworms to the intestines to act as parasites,” stated Reese. “A Soldier, Sailor or Airman could very easily drink parasitic water while deployed, so this just makes it more real. I like to see the reactions of the docs when they cut into the organs and there are different materials and smells in there.”

    Spc. Devonne Woodruff, dental assistant, 912th Dental Company, Twinsburg, Ohio, was one of 3 Soldiers that volunteered to wear the cut suit. Woodruff met the physical profiles needed to wear the suit. “It was something different to do besides the other training we are getting while we’re here,” stated Woodruff.

    Reese and her team are required to go along with the patient in the cut suit, since the combat medics, nurses, surgeons and other medical personnel haven’t been certifiable trained on the suits. Reese and Boettcher act as Observer Controller/Trainer’s to guide the surgeon where it is safe to cut, and to also make sure the person inside the suit remains safe.

    “There was one Soldier I had to get out of the suit half way through the scenario. He got claustrophobic. This suit weighs about 35 pounds, and it’s worn just like a backward flight suit because it zips up the back. His blood pressure increased and he started breathing heavily, we knew we had to get him out of the suit,” explained Reese.

    The cut suit does weigh approximately 35 pounds, and is set for a male of approximately 150 – 200 pounds and 5 feet 10 inches tall. These are requirements due to the length and girth of the suit. It needs to be form fitting to the body, with no loose material. The volunteer is also only allowed to be in the suit for up to 4 hours because of the weight on possible constriction of the material.

    Along with the cut suit being fully operational for surgery, the OC/T carries along with them a blood pumping system that is attached to the patient.

    “Our patient today for the CSH will have an extremity injury on his leg from an IED, as well as eviscerated organs from the blast,” said Boettcher. “We will add the BPS for the wound on his leg, so that the first responders will have to apply a tourniquet before he can even go into the emergency room. I have a remote that is linked to the BPS and I can let more blood flow until I believe they have the tourniquet on correctly.”

    Specialist Kevin Strebler, an Akron, Ohio native, combat medic, 912th Dental Company, Twinsburg, Ohio, was the volunteer for one of the cut suits. Strebler at this point was on his third iteration of wearing the cut suit and seemed like a pro at what he was needed to do.

    “I’ve done this two times before, this is my third time,” said Strebler. “It’s fun, I get to yell and scream about my injuries to play along. The mannequins don’t yell and scream, so they (the doctors) have to pretend more. When I’m in the operating room I don’t have to do anything the doctors do it all and I can take a nap.”



    Date Taken: 05.16.2014
    Date Posted: 05.28.2014 15:18
    Story ID: 131341
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US

    Web Views: 116
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