CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan – Coalition service members, led by the 215th Corps Advisor Team, conducted a simulated mass casualty training exercise, Sept. 9.
The combined team included medical professionals from the United Kingdom Medical Group, NATO Training Mission Southwest and Task Force Leatherneck to help train the Afghan National Army.
Just before the event started, the combined team’s medical officers pulled aside seven ANA soldiers and directed them to simulate the symptoms of various battle wounds. The injuries ranged from gunshot wounds to improvised explosive devices and many other injuries that can be sustained on the battlefield.
“We want to challenge their knowledge about the amount of patients they can take at once,” said Navy Lt. David Clevenger, medical advisor, 215th CAT, Task Force Leatherneck, during a brief before the exercise. “We want to make them understand they’re doing a good job and give them pointers.”
After the simulated casualties were prepared, the advisors made their way to the ANA’s emergency room. According to Clevenger, the ANA combat operations center notified their medics of incoming casualties who quickly prepared for the patients to arrive.
Shortly after the advisors arrived to the emergency room, the patients began streaming in. The first wave had four casualties at once. The medics at the emergency room had to figure out what kind of wounds each casualty had and who to treat first. Just when they had it under control, another three showed up, testing the medic’s ability to adapt.
Two of the simulated casualties had injuries too complex to be treated there, so the ANA arranged transport to the U.K. Role III hospital aboard Camp Bastion, which is better equipped to handle the casualties.
Once the exercise was over, Clevenger spoke to the ANA soldiers.
“We have to keep level heads when this type of stuff actually happens,” he said. “Make sure you prioritize patients. You did that really well today. After you’ve determined the emergency, make sure you go back to the patients and double check.
“Overall, you guys did an outstanding job today,” he continued. “I was impressed.”
Clevenger continued talking to the soldiers, encouraging their efforts, giving tips and pointing out things they could work on. He talked to them about one person being in charge of triage and another of the emergency room.
“It seems like you guys have become really good at this,” he said.
After Clevenger was finished, ANA Col. Sayed Attaullah-Ahmadi, 215 Corps Surgeon, Troop Medical Clinic, spoke to his soldiers and the advisors.
“Thank you to all the advisors,” Attaullah-Ahmadi said. “If you noticed any mistakes, we look forward to future training to correct it. This exercise was a good example of what can happen. We are looking forward to working shoulder to shoulder again.”