News: Iraqi Medics review basic medical care
Story by Cpl. Triah Pendracki
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — More often than not, most common medical issues can be diagnosed or prevented with early detection through basic clinical care.
As part of ongoing medical training, the Navy corpsmen from Combat Logistics Battalion 46 offer their expertise weekly to the Iraqi army medics with the 7th Iraqi Army Division at Camp Mejid, an Iraqi army camp aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
Earlier this month, Navy corpsmen taught a class of Iraqi medics indepth combat lifesaving steps to include needle thoracentesis and emergency tracheotomies. In continuing the training, the corpsmen decided to go back and review the basics with the Iraqi medics.
"We're taking a look at the more clinical aspect of medical care," explained Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashlyn Richards, a corpsman with CLB-46. "We're looking at the heart, chest and lungs for basic issues like abnormal breathing."
During the class, the Iraqi medics reviewed the chest cavity, to include the heart and lungs. They each took turns checking a Navy corpsman's breathing with a stethoscope and listened for any abnormal sounds during regular breathing.
Much like their earlier training, they reviewed the proper procedures to stabilize breathing on an injured or ill patient.
The medics also practiced the proper procedures for taking blood pressure on a patient.
When the instruction began on the basic anatomy of the heart, one corpsman's experience reassured the medics of their instructors' knowledge.
"This is where my expertise comes into play," said Chief Petty Officer Jeanie Kittleson, a corpsman with CLB-46 and a physician assistant in the U.S. "For some people, it may be deceiving where the heart is actually located, but it is actually in the center of the chest, not to the left where most people think it is."
Throughout the entire class, the Iraqi medics took notes and asked questions, showing the instructors their enthusiasm for learning.
"It's great to see them retaining the information we give them," said Richards. "It shows that they're paying attention and actually have an avid interest in learning. They even practice during the rest of the week when we're not here for them."
Though the corpsmen teach classes every Monday on Camp Mejid, the medics are slowly becoming less dependent on them for knowledge and supplies. This process of phasing out the aid of the corpsman will make it easier for the Iraqis when all U.S. service members eventually depart Iraq.