Battlefield techniques saving lives

Mass casualty demo held at Camp Pendleton

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Just back from Afghanistan a few months ago, surgeons and corpsmen with the 1st Medical Battalion put on a demonstration of what to expect when medical teams deploy.  

"We know that when we step outside the wire with Marines it's game on," said Chief Petty Officer Irene Aguilar, a Navy corpsman.

Corpsmen are the first line of defense when Marines are wounded.

The next step would be to evacuate the wounded to a Shock Trauma Platoon and Forward Resuscitative Surgical System.

"What we do there is a completely different mindset than what we'd do in the States because we don't have the time or the supplies," said Cmdr. Jon Schoeff, a Navy surgeon.  

The goal is to stop the bleeding and stabilize the patient as quickly as possible, and then get them to a higher level of care.  

During their last deployment, the medical battalion saw nearly 8,000 critical care patients and had a 98 percent survival rate.  

"If we can send a sailor, soldier or Marine back to their family, we have achieved our mission, but there are times that doesn't work out," said Schoeff, who added the failures are hard to take.


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