News: Corpsmen teach Afghan soldiers basic medical skills
Story by Lance Cpl. Dwight Henderson
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Corpsmen with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, showed Afghan national army soldiers from the 6th Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps, how to save lives on the battlefield on March 9-11.
The corpsmen taught the soldiers about controlling bleeding, maintaining breathing, and administering intravenous fluid. They were taught by using the equipment from a combat-lifesavers bag that was given to the ANA to carry on patrol.
Lt. Eric D. Morrell, the battalion medical officer, added that the point of the course was to show them the equipment in the bag they would be given and to encourage the soldiers to partner with other corpsman on patrols to build on their basic knowledge.
The corpsmen started with basic knowledge, emphasizing that the two most important things when treating an injured solider is keeping them breathing and stopping the bleeding.
They went on to teach the soldiers about hemorrhage control, which included the proper use of multiple pressure dressings and tourniquets.
The Afghan soldiers witnessed proper application of pressings and tourniquets, and then applied what they learned on each other.
Some of the soldiers would answer questions or bring up important points before the corpsmen talked about them.
"I didn't expect them to know that," said Petty Officer 1st Class James G. Ping, a corpsman with Fox Company. "There was one guy in particular who probably had some prior experience. I was thoroughly impressed with the way they grasped everything."
The second day's theme was breathing, where the corpsmen showed the soldiers how to use different types of tubes, including some that went through the nose and others that went through the mouth to clear airways.
To show proper use, one of the corpsmen even used a nasal nasopharyngeal airway, a small tube that goes through the nose into the trachea, on himself. The corpsmen offered the soldiers a chance to do it on themselves.
"It doesn't hurt, it's just uncomfortable," said Ping. "I did what I could for it. The way we work, the best way to teach is to see one, do one, teach one."
How to properly insert IVs was taught on the third day. The corpsmen placed an IV in one of the soldiers to show the others how to properly administer one.
"The IV was very good," said Khan Mohammad, one of the soldiers from the class. "It was very interesting to me."
"Anything we do with these guys, even if it's just an introduction, they can build upon it so they're not as dependent on us when we're gone," said Ping.
"The good thing about them is they showed us the material and how everything works," said Mohammad. "It was very good, I liked it. In the future I'd like to see it again and maybe teach other soldiers."