MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Sailors with 2nd Medical Battalion were evaluated on resource management, haste, and teamwork during a mass casualty evacuation scenario at Camp Lejeune, , March 25.
The training is required for the battalion’s personnel in the event they are called on to support a deployment, and focused on operating on and evacuating patients with various injuries in a field environment.
“We tried to stretch these sailors beyond their limitations to see what they could [accomplish],” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Vanhook, an instructor for the exercise. “We evaluated the patient care they delivered in this environment.”
According to Vanhook, several of the trainees operate out of the base hospital, making this field environment and its demands a change of pace for them.
“A lot of the providers that come out here are nurses and doctors that typically work in a hospital, so we are talking about doing medicine in a field environment,” Vanhook said. “We are really looking for them to have gear familiarization in the field to include surgical capabilities in a tent, which is much different than your average hospital setting.”
The extent of injuries the sailors encountered included gunshot wounds, blast wounds and burns, all needing immediate action with limited resources and manpower.
“I think we saw about 20 patients all within an hour’s time,” said Ensign Julia Mauer, a nurse that underwent the training. “We treated things from minor injuries to burns covering 80 percent of the body. These scenarios are not something that I normally see. It really tested my knowledge and critical thinking skills.”
In addition to treating multiple patients out of a medical tent, sailors were also tasked with conducting an evacuation, calling on them to work together to transport their casualties to a humvee or training helicopter.
“It’s important to familiarize yourself with the environment you would see while deployed,” Mauer said. “Working in a tent with very limited supplies is different than a hospital environment. You are very dependent on what you have out here.”
When the last patient was successfully evaluated, all trainees and instructors gathered to discuss the various courses of action taken throughout the training, to better prepare the sailors for what may lie ahead.
“This training put me and my fellow nurses, doctors and corpsmen outside of our comfort zone, and was a great learning experience,” Mauer said.