View Full Version : Station corpsmen test in combat casualty care

03-10-06, 06:34 AM
Station corpsmen test in combat casualty care
By By JO1(SW) Karen Golembieski
Staff Writer
Friday, March 10, 2006

Bullets are flying overhead on a narrow street. Suddenly, there is an explosion beside a nearby Humvee.

There are wounded Marines that need your attention, but the enemy gunfire hasn’t stopped. What are you going to do?

Every Thursday, Naval Station Everett corpsmen, are learning just that in two-hour sessions. And last Thursday, it was test time.

Cmdr. Kathy Brenner, the station’s resident expert in trauma medicine, said she was activated specifically to teach the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Course (TCCC).

“The corpsman from Everett are constantly getting identified to go to the combat zones,” said Brenner. “And in those areas, they are asked to do what no trauma surgeon would do.”

The corpsmen were split into three groups and rotated through different testing stations.

At each station, they were presented with not only a different injury, but also different combat situations that had to be dealt with before going onto treating the patient.

The training was initiated by Lt. Richard Ognewski and Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Craig Bosley, said Brenner.

They identified a need: unless the corpsmen had been to the field medicine “C” school, they didn’t have all the training they needed to manage combat medicine.

“They are not going over to a nice, clean hospital environment,” said Brenner. “It would be nice to have all the equipment that you need, but realistically, they can’t carry that much. They may also have to deal with darkness and live ammunition.”

The training begins with PowerPoint classroom instruction followed by hands-on labs.

The Boston, Mass., native said the help of the assistant facilitators was invaluable.

“Hospital Corpsman 1st Class John Strough is incredible and has had real life, hands on experience. He’s actually gone out and done it,” she said. “He and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Ryan Eddy, as combat veterans, added their wisdom and expertise to the training.

Medicine has come a long way, said Brenner.

“In Vietnam, casualties were bleeding to death. Now, we know that early application of a tourniquet would save them. What we do is buy time for the injured,” said Brenner.

The TCCC is not the only new innovation at Naval Health Clinic Everett. Recently, two corpsmen went to Fort Lewis for a week to train with the Army medics.

“It’s a different kind of course,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Franco Ahumado. “It’s the first time the Navy was training with the Army for combat casualty care.

“Hospital corpsman Jacob Moody and I haven’t attended the field medical service “C” school, but this training also dealt with combat situations as well as care under fire. We learned new techniques and about new equipment.”

Ahumado and Moody also were able to teach the Army medics a few things.

“We showed them how to improvise,” said Moody. “You may not always have enough supplies for multiple casualties, so you have to learn to use what is at hand.”

The best part of the training was the atmosphere, said Brenner.

“I came in as an outsider and felt welcome right away,” she said. “Everybody really came together. The camaraderie in the group is really incredible.”