Army, Navy, Marines perform joint mass casualty exercise at TAMC

| July 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul D. Honnick
U.S. Navy, Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment 

Soldiers carry Sailors, acting as casualties, on stretchers away from a CH-46 Sea Knight during a joint mass casualty exercise at Tripler Army Medical Center. Fifty Sailors were flown to TAMC after a mock explosion inflicted mass causalities aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie as part of Rim of the Pacific 2010. TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER — As a CH-46 Sea Knight came in for a landing, here, Soldiers and medical staff stood by with stretchers to move the wounded to the hospital’s emergency room.

Fifty Sailors assigned to USS Lake Erie were flown to TAMC after a mock explosion inflicted mass casualties, as part of a Rim of the Pacific 2010 exercise.

“Today we saw a successful drill … a joint venture between the Army, Navy and the Marine Corps participating in a mass casualty exercise where we exercised interoperability,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Serrano, deputy surgeon for U.S. Third Fleet. “Interoperability, it’s not just working with other countries; it’s working within our own agencies (and) our own units together, and this was a success. I’m very happy with the planning, and I’m glad we pulled it off.”

After a mock explosion occurred, the victims were transported to the USS Bonhomme Richard, which provided medical treatment facilities and staff onboard. The victims were triaged and stabilized. The role players were then flown in transport helicopters assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268. The most serious injuries were flown to TAMC, first.

When TAMC received the initial call that patients were inbound, hospital staff activated their emergency preparedness plan and set up triage, treatment, decontamination sites and a morgue outside of their ER.

“For the hospital, it’s also a part of their joint accreditation; they have to maintain certain standards,” Serrano said. “Our option of having a RIMPAC exercise combined with the Army’s need to fulfill a requirement for the joint commission is a perfect blend of getting the job done.”

To make the experience more realistic for the providers, Sailors used various props and make up to give the appearance of real injuries, including fake blood and plastic wounds on the patients.

“(The providers) could have something to look at and be able to know what type of injury they might be presented with,” Serrano said.

TAMC staff treated Sailors for burns, lacerations, broken bones and more, with both the role players and the staff treating the injuries as if they were real. The medical staff was able to save most of the victims, but some were not so lucky.

“We had two patients that didn’t quite make it. That’s pretty real, as far as what you expect,” Serrano said.

After the medical staff performed everything possible to save lives, Lt. j.g. Regina Pinto-Moura, a Navy chaplain, read the victims their last rites.

“(The chaplains’) role is really important if you’re looking at a real event because you’re going to have a lot of chaos,” Serrano said. “It’s really stressful for the providers, as well as the family members that are coming here to find out that their loved ones are injured.”

In the end, all the Sailors, including the two who “died,” miraculously recovered from their injuries and returned to their ships.

Serrano said the most impressive aspect of the exercise was the effective communication and working relationship shared between the different units and branches of service in the exercise.

“We actually get a piece of real life where we get to work the logistics, and that becomes real-time operations, and that’s what we’re really proud of – is being able to show success at that interoperability,” Serrano said.

Story and Photo byPetty Officer 2nd Class Paul D. Honnick U.S. Navy, Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER — As a CH-46 Sea Knight came in for a landing, here, Soldiers and medical staff stood by with stretchers to move the wounded to the hospital’s emergency room.Fifty Sailors assigned to USS Lake Erie were flown to TAMC after a mock explosion inflicted mass casualties, as part of a Rim of the Pacific 2010 exercise.“Today we saw a successful drill … a joint venture between the Army, Navy and the Marine Corps participating in a mass casualty exercise where we exercised interoperability,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Serrano, deputy surgeon for U.S. Third Fleet. “Interoperability, it’s not just working with other countries; it’s working within our own agencies (and) our own units together, and this was a success. I’m very happy with the planning, and I’m glad we pulled it off.”After a mock explosion occurred, the victims were transported to the USS Bonhomme Richard, which provided medical treatment facilities and staff onboard. The victims were triaged and stabilized. The role players were then flown in transport helicopters assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268. The most serious injuries were flown to TAMC, first.When TAMC received the initial call that patients were inbound, hospital staff activated their emergency preparedness plan and set up triage, treatment, decontamination sites and a morgue outside of their ER.“For the hospital, it’s also a part of their joint accreditation; they have to maintain certain standards,” Serrano said. “Our option of having a RIMPAC exercise combined with the Army’s need to fulfill a requirement for the joint commission is a perfect blend of getting the job done.”To make the experience more realistic for the providers, Sailors used various props and make up to give the appearance of real injuries, including fake blood and plastic wounds on the patients.“(The providers) could have something to look at and be able to know what type of injury they might be presented with,” Serrano said.TAMC staff treated Sailors for burns, lacerations, broken bones and more, with both the role players and the staff treating the injuries as if they were real. The medical staff was able to save most of the victims, but some were not so lucky.“We had two patients that didn’t quite make it. That’s pretty real, as far as what you expect,” Serrano said.After the medical staff performed everything possible to save lives, Lt. j.g. Regina Pinto-Moura, a Navy chaplain, read the victims their last rites.“(The chaplains’) role is really important if you’re looking at a real event because you’re going to have a lot of chaos,” Serrano said. “It’s really stressful for the providers, as well as the family members that are coming here to find out that their loved ones are injured.”In the end, all the Sailors, including the two who “died,” miraculously recovered from their injuries and returned to their ships.Serrano said the most impressive aspect of the exercise was the effective communication and working relationship shared between the different units and branches of service in the exercise.“We actually get a piece of real life where we get to work the logistics, and that becomes real-time operations, and that’s what we’re really proud of – is being able to show success at that interoperability,” Serrano said.

Category: Exercises, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *