News: Enroute critical care nurses save lives in Afghanistan
Story by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert
BAGRAM, Afghanistan – As they all sit around the picnic table playing board games, ping pong or just sitting around getting to know each other waiting on that unwanted call, they all drop what their doing to run out to an awaiting aircraft to take them to pick the wounded.
The teams are made up of experienced, skilled soldiers who are completely committed to the mission.
Enroute critical care nurses take pride in what they do in saving lives.
“The ECCN program is approximately 2-3 years old. The character of the program has evolved continuously and one of the more recent changes was attaching the nurses to the Medical Evacuation Company,” said U.S. Army Maj. Graham Bundy, Charlie Company 3/82 Task Force Talon.
ECCN, mission is to provide intratheater critical care transport of casualties (human and canine) aboard rotary and fixed wing evacuation platforms from Role I/ Role II to Role III Medical Treatment Facilities, as well as, to assist with select grid point of injury extractions on a limited basis.
U.S. Army Capt. April Ritter, Task Force Saber said: “ECCN ideally have a minimum of two years of intensive care or emergency department experience to include military identifier in that realm.”
Working with flight medic’s work efficiently together. They all work together and it is never a battle of one person knowing more than the other, they learn from each other.
“During deployment, training is dictated by the medevac unit and includes aviation specific training as well as medical training,” said Capt. Colleen Adams, with Task Force Medical- Afghanistan.
The advantage of ECCN attached to medevac units is to improve casualty care through reciprocal, ongoing training between flight medics and critical care nurses.
“I believe the addition of ECCNs on the medevac missions has improved outcomes for patients”, said Adams. “A dedicated ECCN allows for two trained medical providers on most medevac missions has improved the quality of care a patient receives during intratheater transport through collaborative, continuous care.”
Adams also stated that, “on every flight I have participated in, patients conditions were either maintained or improved upon during critical care transfers, but as”.
The current Army medevac procedures in theater are effective and conducted by the most qualified personnel. The passion and dedication among medevac is easily identified as soon as you re in the presence of a dustoff unit.
“Not only do we have unique medical skills on board the air craft, we also have vigilant operations personnel, highly skilled aviators, and well trained crew chiefs,” said Ritter. “Our ability to rapidly respond to medevac requests and provided high quality, evidence based care has proven to save lives and give ground units’ peace of mind.”
ECCNs are honored to be assigned to this important mission. They all work hard to become an integral member of the medevac units.