Eight Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment’s medical platoon attended emergency room and ambulance training at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University Hospital, in Syracuse, during August.
“(Teams) of eight medics did overnight shifts at the hospital in the emergency room, and with the Rural-Metro ambulances,” said Cpl. Do Ezra Plemons, a medic in HHC, 2-87 Infantry. “A total of 16 medics in 2-87 Infantry did the training over a period of two weekends. They took turns in the ER and on the ambulance.”
While performing patient treatment, there was always one nurse with one medic. This allowed for individualized training.
“The training they received was both observational and hands-on in nature,” said 2nd Lt. Jose Trinidadlugo, medical officer for 2-87 Infantry.
These medics were able to assist in real-world trauma situations in an emergency room setting as well as being the first responders as part of an ambulance crew.
“It’s totally realistic for a new medic,” Plemons said. “It’s a chance to see real blood and a patient’s reaction to injury. It helps desensitize (Soldiers) to blood.”
In the ER, Soldiers assisted staff by placing IVs, helping with splinting, dressing wounds, and obtaining vital signs.
“The best thing about the ER is the specific training on higher-level treatment and patient assessment you get,” Plemons said.
Training allows the medic to retain medical skills not otherwise provided back at home station. All medics have basic emergency medical technician training, but in the ER, they learned more advanced techniques for treating patients, such as spinal taps and how to use staples.
“These Soldiers observed the trauma teams’ synchronized handling and care of patients as they arrive to the ER, learned several suturing techniques and saw how to effectively triage,” said Trinidadlugo.
Medics who have already deployed were able to draw many parallels to a civilian ambulance team and combat medics.
“It is a real-world scenario; it is very relevant (to combat),” said Plemons. “The police have to gain security, and sometimes there are multiple casualties.”
One main difference between civilian medical personnel and Army combat medics is the specific tasks they receive. As combat medics, Soldiers have to know how to provide various levels of treatment and be very flexible.
“As medics, we have to be prepared to do a whole gamut of tasks,” Plemons said. “It got (us) in the mindset. It wasn’t simulated; it was real. They got to see what it takes to be a medic.”
Soldiers were able to observe how a good cohesive team triages, communicates and works together. This helps new Soldiers learn the cohesiveness and calmness that can be critical while deployed.
“You have to see the whole picture and not panic,” Plemons said. “It was very valuable, and it should be a required training for Soldiers before they deploy.”