U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield prepares for the storm to come

| June 29, 2017 | 1 Comment

A patient (made up for the exercise) awaits first responders to transport him to Area X-Ray. (Photo by 1st Lt. Jason Kilgore)

Story and photo by
1st Lt. Jason Kilgore
U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Picture this: The wind is howling as debris becomes high-speed projectiles that penetrate the body upon impact. Trees are toppling over, and significant structure damage occurs within Schofield Barracks due to the category four hurricane sweeping over Oahu. The health clinic, here, is destroyed and staffs are forced to relocate to the open fields of Area X-Ray.

The tents that housed all of the medical lifesaving equipment were already set up and ready to go as the clinical staff stood by to receive an unknown number of patients with varying degrees of injuries during this recent mass casualty, or MASCAL exercise.

By its end, one thing was certain: The staff at USAHC-SB is ready.

Staff at USAHC-SB have spent the last year planning and coordinating with the local garrison command, the Federal Fire Department, and the 25th Infantry Division to execute this training exercise.

Patients are loaded up in the back of a UH-60 Black Hawk to be transported to Tripler Medical Center and Queens Medical Center. (Photo by 1st Lt. Jason Kilgore)

“The challenging part in planning was getting everyone on the same page,” said Matt Momiyama, the operations officer at USAHC-SB. “In a home station environment, such as the one in this training exercise, it’s hard to switch gears from a tactical mindset to a support and sustainment mindset.”

After a year of coordination and planning, the event kicked off at Watts Field, where Soldier-volunteers waited to have their injuries assigned and received their moulage kit. Each Soldier was assigned a card that identified the injury as well as their vital signs and pertinent information that the medical providers needed in order to provide care.

About 20 mock casualties, with their realistic trauma moulage injuries, laid in the grass at Watts Field, They waited for the first responders to arrive, then were immediately triaged and organized into four categories: black-expectant, red-immediate, yellow-delayed and green- minimal.

Those with the most severe injuries were evacuated by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Those that remained on the field were immediately transferred to Area X-Ray for treatment.

“I am extremely proud of my clinical team, not just from military members of the USAHC-SB and the 25th ID, but from our civilian providers as well,” stated Col. Deydre Teyhen, commander of the USAHC-SB. “From the accurate triage, immediately upon arrival of the casualties, to the exceptional care the casualties received in the medical tents, proves beyond any doubt that we have a very skilled medical team. We didn’t lose a single casualty.”

One major role that must be considered as to why no patients expired was due to proper triage. Triage is the catalyst to either life or death. Improperly triaging a patient whose injury is worse than what is identified can cause the patient to expire.

The casualties arrived at Area X-Ray and were immediately sorted by the clinic’s triage team. Those with the most severe injuries were raced into the medical tents, and the medical teams immediately went to work.

Maj. Dickman of U.S. Army Health Clinic, Schofield Barracks, tiages arriving patients at the MASCAL. (Photo by 1st Lt. Jason Kilgore)

Those with the worst injuries, such as impalement from tree branches, were stabilized and prepped to be transferred by helicopter to Tripler Army Medical Center and the Queens Medical Center.

“The coordination between USAHC-SB, Tripler and Queens hospital was essential to the success of this exercise,” stated Momiyama. “Teams at both locations were more than prepared to receive all of the critically injured patients that were sent from Area X-Ray. This level of success can only be achieved through proper planning and training.”

The professionalism and level of care that were provided to the 20 patients was apparent to everyone in attendance.

“I am absolutely amazed at how well the clinical staff reacted to the MASCAL,” stated Col. Stephen Dawson, commander of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. “The staff came in today not knowing what they were about to face. They handled it with such professionalism and care. I am absolutely comforted by what I have just seen here if a natural disaster were to ever occur on Schofield Barracks.”

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  1. Lorraine says:

    I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it unasterdndable.

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