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Team Kadena tends to their wounded during local exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen assigned to the 18th Medical Group Patient Care Team tested their skills here Wednesday as they sorted through victims of a fire scenario during the Beverly High 08-02 Local Operational Readiness Exercise.

The patient care team performs the role of triage, sorting through the wounded and separating them by the severity of the injury sustained.

"As patients come in, we assess which patients are more critical and which ones are less," said Maj. Steven Clancy, 18th MDG Patient Care Team chief. "We determine what we have the resources for, and how best to use those resources to help those that need immediate treatment."

This form of triage is known as Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment, or S.T.A.R.T. It separates the injured into four groups: The deceased who are beyond help, the injured who can be helped by immediate transportation, the injured whose transport can be delayed, and those with minor injuries who need help less urgently.

This type of training during exercise scenarios is vital since the triage team is made up a variety of medical personnel from different fields.

"This is stuff that we don't see every day," said Major Clancy. "For this corps of individuals, it's important that we practice this, and practice treating injuries that we don't normally see."

The injuries that the triage unit will be presented with over the course of the exercise vary, but common are broken limbs, lacerations from explosions, and smoke inhalation according to Major Clancy.

There are some real dangers that are handled by the triage unit over the course of the exercise.

"In this exercise it's been mostly smoke inhalation and lacerations," said Capt. Malee Sanborn, an 18th MDG clinical nurse for the patient care team. "But we've seen some heat stress and that's real world. With [chemical] gear and everyone working hard, that's a real danger."

Even with the high operations tempo and long hours, the members of the patient care team are up to the task said Major Clancy.

"This is a team of very motivated individuals," he said. "We bring a vast array of specialties, and most of us are working out of our element and seeing injuries we don't normally see, but they handle it very well and adapt to the situation."

"Our team is very cohesive, if we ever see any mistake, we fix it," said Captain Sandborn. "This is the time for us to learn, so thinking through theses processes is very important."

The importance of the mission can be seen in the pride that the patient care team shows through the exercise, she said.

"We have incredible teamwork," said Captain Sanborn. "We're an awesome team; the whole medical group is an awesome team."