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    Treating and teaching: SC combat medics use Smart Dummies to conduct training

    Treating and teaching: SC combat medics use Smart Dummies to conduct training

    Photo By Master Sgt. Raymond Drumsta | Gordon Smith, the senior site lead and facilitator for the Medical Simulation Training...... read more read more

    By Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Drumsta
    Camp Buehring Public Affairs

    CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT — They blink, breathe and bleed, but the camouflage-clad mannequins of the Medical Simulation Training Center here helped some South Carolina Army National Guard combat medics re-certify their fellow troops as combat lifesavers.

    Combat medics of the 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, used the center to re-certify 141 of the battalion's combat lifesavers in a two-month time span. The battalion assumed security force and camp operations missions here in April, and is now in the process of heading home.

    In addition to re-certifying the combat lifesavers during their time here, battalion medics treated about 1,830 patients – including some with potentially life-threatening injuries – and ensured they were transported to advanced-care facilities, said Capt. Rogerick Gilchrist, battalion medical operations officer. The medics were also on hand to render aid for potential injuries during training and live-fire events involving Army, Air Force and Navy units, he added.

    Combat lifesavers are non-medical soldiers who provide life-saving measures as a secondary duty if their primary or combat missions allow. The combat lifesaver is a bridge between the self-aid/buddy-aid or first aid training given to all soldiers during basic training and the advanced medical training given to the combat medic.

    Combat lifesavers must be re-certified annually, said Gilchrist, of Columbia, S.C. The Medical Simulation Training Center provides a realistic battlefield environment, complete with mannequins — mock patients that exhibit realistic life functions, he explained.

    The MSTC is essentially a tent with two rows of supine mannequins. It’s used for the full range of medical training, from first-aid to advanced procedures performed by physicians assistants and doctors, said Gordon Smith, the senior site lead and facilitator for the MSTC here.

    Smith, an Iraq veteran and nurse with about 27 years of experience, described the range of realism embodied in the mannequins.

    "We can do IVs on them," he said. "They breathe. Their little eyes blink. They bleed. They have pulses. They're about as human-like as you can get without being human."

    Trainers control the mannequins’ simulated life functions with computers. Using a stereo equalizer, speakers and a war-movie DVDs, trainers fill the MSTC with sound of bullets and combat-zone explosions, which forces combat lifesavers to feel for signs of breathing.

    “You’re not going to be able to hear that, so you’re going to have to feel for it,” Smith said. The MSTC also teaches combat medics to manage combat lifesavers, which is their job in a combat situation, he added.

    That was evident during the 4th Battalion’s combat lifesaver re-certification. As the combat sounds signaled the simulation’s start, the 4th Battalion medics began shouting at the combat lifesavers to get to work on the mannequins, which were oozing fake blood and showing other symptoms of combat injuries.

    The medics moved quickly from one combat lifesaver to another, quizzing them on symptoms, ensuring they were providing the right medical care and using their own experience to hone the lifesavers’ skills. The symptom of a head injury, called asymmetrical pupil dilation, was visible in the eyes of the mannequins, said Sgt. Jason Watkins, a medic of Alpha Company, 4th Battalion.

    “That means there’s something going on with the brain,” explained Watkins, an Iraq veteran from Columbia, S.C.

    Crimson, sticky, fake blood pooled on the floor during the exercise, and the combat lifesavers — who were monitoring mannequins’ life signs and applying bandages – often knelt in it, staining their uniforms.

    That’s all part of the training, Watkins said. The mannequins “bleed” until someone applies all the necessary medical interventions – including tourniquets – to stop it, he said.

    “It gives them a chance to see what it’s like to work with the stuff,” he said.

    Outside of special schools, medical training with this level of realism isn’t usually available to Army National Guardsmen, he added.

    “This is awesome,” Watkins said.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.16.2012
    Date Posted: 12.16.2012 18:01
    Story ID: 99377
    Location: CAMP BUEHRING, KW 

    Web Views: 310
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