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US troops, allies work to improve battlefield medicine

By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 3, 2017

WIESBADEN, Germany — U.S. troops worked for the past week with allies at U.S. Army Europe headquarters to ensure that medics from partner nations are using best practices when it comes to saving lives on the battlefield.

More than 80 medical personnel — both civilian and military — from six nations gathered for an emergency medicine course that ended Friday, called the International Combat Lifesaver Course at Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden.

On Thursday, students practiced loading and unloading stretcher-borne casualties from UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

“They need to know how to stabilize and effectively manage the chaotic situation as well as quickly evacuate them to definitive care without causing further harm,” said Sgt. Joseph Daley, a medic with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, who helped oversee the training. “It’s a very difficult task to do in the heat of the moment.”

The course’s main focus was on teaching students primary care — to stabilize severe wounds and effectively transport casualties to a field hospital or other medical facility.

“The training is two-tier: international relations, because we could end up all working side by side at some point in the future, and standardizing care, so that we’re practicing tactical medicine to the same standard,” said Tim Cranton, a retired British Army medic who led the course.

Besides military personnel, civilian law enforcement officers participated, including police from departments across Germany.

“We need that level of interaction between the military, the police and emergency medical and rescue services. If we have a standard level of care, then it has to be better for the patients all around,” Cranton said.

It’s expected that after the training, students will return to their home stations and train their colleagues in the standardized techniques.

Sanna Neirola, a Finnish army reservist and emergency room nurse who trains the Finnish military in combat lifesaver techniques, said was good for her to see the NATO standards in action.

“All of this is new for me, there’s a different way to do things.” she said. “That’s why I’m here, to open my eyes.”

stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

A U.S. soldier and German polizei officer carry a stretcher-borne casualty off of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during an international combat lifesaver course on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, at Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden, Germany.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES

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