Thursday, October 2, 2008

Doctors brew multinational antidote

-- Pfc. Joshua Sizemore

HOHENFELS, Germany – Healthcare professionals from around the world embrace the credo of Cooperative Spirit 2008 by fostering interoperability for the American, British, Canadian, Australia and New Zealand Armies Program.

Medical units from the ABCA nations, including the “Witch Doctors” from Company C, 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, aim to collectively resolve issues encompassing patient care via an exchange of contemporary medicinal treatments, employed by patient care practitioners worldwide, with the intent of maintaining consistency between all participants.

Australian Army Medical Officer Maj. Mark Harris attached to the1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, supporting this task said, “There are medical advances going on all the time, and they filter down through the national armies. Australians are more than willing participants in this activity, and we welcome any chance to work with coalition partners in this sort of way.”

Harris added that this was a golden opportunity to observe how health centers in other countries administer patient care.

BSB Physician’s Assistant 1st Lt. Christina Campbell, a 30-year old, Sarasota, Fla., native, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for us as medical care providers to work with the providers from different nations. We can learn exactly how we treat the same kind of injuries that we would see (down range) and hopefully share our experiences with each other.”

The ABCA Coalition Aid Station at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center is situated to treat minor ailments, in addition to non-battle injuries regardless of a Soldier’s nationality. It is host to physicians and medics from each member-country.

Drug naming customs are one minor difference shared by each nation. Americans and Canadians prescribe Epinephrine to treat low-blood pressure and low-heart rate. British, Australians and New Zealanders call it Adrenaline. Americans and Canadians commonly administer Tylenol-Paracetamol as the other three nations call it, for fever and minor aches and pains.

Nonetheless, basic care is equivalent to each nation’s protocols. Personnel are able to implement care to any Soldier that enters their door.

“Each country takes care of their Soldiers as they see fit. In an emergency situation, we’re authorized to help that international Soldier as much as possible. Any provider would take care of that Soldier,” Campbell said.

For example, if a British doctor treats an American patient, mandate requires him to notify that Soldier’s chain-of-command by way of a runner who would fetch an American medic.

This environment provides coalition medical personnel an opportunity to exchange information to achieve a multilateral familiarization of the advancing changes in medicine.

“Medical advances progress so quickly that different armies will pick up on different aspects of that at different times,” Harris said. “We can really get our heads together and look at a whole raft of issues. We really have to see people face to face.”

Since the conclusion of World War II, ABCA doctors have been drawn into the mix to work out how to better save lives. Training at the JMRC assists doctors in preparing for combat.

“Unless we’ve done that in this sort of scenario, we’ll never be able to do that when a patient’s life is at risk,” Harris said. “We really need to interface with each other in the field or we won’t be successful.”

Campbell believes that no Soldier is ever fully prepared to confront the brutal realities of war. Only through continual training will her medics be equipped to fulfill their endeavor and save lives once they’ve deployed.

“(We’re learning) good tidbits that we could use and implement into our training and into our patient care. Our main mission is to keep those guys safe and get them back home safely,” Campbell said.

“This is extremely important for our junior Soldiers in the medical field and the ones out there doing maneuvers, because they understand that now, as a part of the different world-wide organizations that America is a part of, we’re working alongside many different countries,” Campbell said. “(Cooperative Spirit 2008) is a step up because everybody here speaks one form or another of English. It gets us a better bond to know that we’re part of a bigger race, the human race, and that we’re all here for the same mission.”

No comments: