SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) Medical & Surgical Simulation Center/Bioskills Training Center (MSSC/BTC) provided operational trauma training for Expeditionary Strike Group 5's Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5 Apr. 11.
This inaugural two-week fleet surgical team pre-deployment trauma training course is designed for participants to learn to work together as a unit when treating patients in a high-stress, traumatic situation, such as a Sailor blinded by a flight deck explosion, or a Marine who, moments earlier, had a leg blown off by a land mine.
"This training mirrors the exact training we do with Marines and Individual Augmentees," said Don Raymundo, NMCSD's MSSC/BTC clinical educator. "What's unique about this training is that it's ship-specific. It's the first of its kind [for a ship's platform]."
During the training, 15 participants learned, as a unit, how to effectively treat patients involved in emergency medical situations. The training also included a cut suit surgery exercise, which gave FST-5 members an opportunity to practice their operating room skills.
The cut suit was worn by a volunteer contracted employee as he lay on an operating table. The training allowed participants to find out what happened if they made a wrong cut on the simulated patient.
The curriculum was authored and designed by Cmdr. (Dr.) Tuan N. Hoang, senior course director from Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
"The training employs a team-based approach to educate personnel from corpsmen to physicians on how to effectively triage, stabilize, treat, and disposition a critically-injured patient, to multiple victims and mass casualty scenarios," said Hoang.
Various naval operations require interdependence among personnel; Navy medical teams are no different.
Capt. Lloyd G. Burgess, FST-5 officer in charge, elaborated on this all-for-one mentality that was an essential piece of the training.
"The course is a tremendous team builder," Burgess said. "Everyone on the team finding out what niche everyone else on the team has in-play as we work together. Putting the whole team together is like putting a whole bunch of strangers together, and is really helpful to practice first before going into a live environment."
Raymundo, who assisted Hoang in developing the curriculum, emphasized the significance of FST-5 learning to operate as a unit.
"The main benefit is the 'team' concept," said Raymundo. "We train them as a team, so they're always working together. Not only are they being trained on their skills, but they're learning to work together through communication."
The overarching theme of FST-5's training was to learn the intricacies of operating fluidly as a group, and for the members to get acclimated with each other in critical medical situations.
"It was about getting us integrated, and getting us working together," added Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alejandro Medina, FST-5 surgical technician. "To actually get an experience like this where we are all interacting with each other, it's great training. We needed to build that bond between all of us to understand how we were going to do things, how things were going to flow. We don't get this experience ever, unless we're at war."
Another aspect of FST-5's onboard casualty training was the mock scenarios they faced. These situations would not have been possible without NMCSD's MSSC/BTC, which allowed FST-5 to apply their skills in an almost identical environment as a trauma ship.
FST-5 typically embarks on six to eight month deployments aboard amphibious assault ships patrolling the Western Pacific Rim, which includes Japan, the Philippines, South Asia, and the Strait of Hormuz.
FST-5 members consist of a medical regulating and coordinating officer, senior enlisted leader, general surgeon, family practice physician, anesthesia provider, critical care nurse, operating room nurse, two surgical technicians, two laboratory technicians, one respiratory technician, two general hospital corpsman, and one radiology technician.
For more information on Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/NMC_SD.