Tripler staff respond to MASCAL joint exercise

| July 29, 2010 | 0 Comments

Tripler Army Medical Center
News Release

Tripler Army Medical Center staff minister to Navy casualties during a joint-service mass casualty exercise July 9. (Jan Clark | Tripler Army Medical Center ublic Affairs)HONOLULU — Word of an explosion aboard the USS Lake Erie, a naval vessel off the shores of Oahu, arrived at Tripler Army Medical Center, here, at 8:30 a.m., July 9.

Thomas Bookman, emergency plans and operations officer, Pacific Regional Medical Command, reported that the explosion had caused significant damage to the ship and generated many casualties, to include some fatalities.

“United States service members and members of foreign military services are on-board for joint training,” Bookman said. “Foreign military service members are injured and are being evacuated alongside of U.S. service members to TAMC. 

“There are at least 50 casualties,” he continued. “Several of the foreign military service members do not understand or speak English.”

TAMC staff immediately activated the mass casualty emergency operations plan while awaiting the first wave of patients to arrive, thus beginning TAMC’s MASCAL exercise and participation in the Navy’s RIMPAC 2010 exercise. 

Sailors acted as casualties, and they were flown in via CH-46 helicopters. TAMC staff met the challenge and provided triage, treatment and decontamination. The staff treated fractured limbs, cuts, burns and head injuries, as though the Sailors actually suffered the injuries.

“All hospitals are required to participate in two exercises per year (and) three different types of emergency response drills,” Bookman said. “Given that TAMC offers emergency services and is a community-designated disaster receiving station, this MASCAL drill was designed around an influx of patients (from the community) and an escalating event in which the local community is unable to support TAMC.”

The intent of the mass casualty exercise was to assess the EOP’s appropriateness, adequacy and effectiveness with logistics, human resources, training, polices, procedures and protocols.

Bookman said that the overall objectives of the MASCAL exercise were met and that MASCAL concepts and procedures in the TAMC EOP proved adequate and appropriate. 

Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commanding general, TAMC, said the exercise displayed the complex chain of communication that takes place from first-responders at the point of injury, to the team at the helicopter landing zone pick-up site, to the triage at the emergency department and to the life-sustaining care provided in the emergency room. From there, communication flowed to the operating rooms and the bedside nursing care.

“The TAMC team of doctors, nurses, licensed practical nurses, operators and planners, logisticians and manpower pool, (all) worked seamlessly together (in this exercise),” said Gallagher.

Category: Exercises, News

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