Yongsan offers class on trauma treatment
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Pfc. Adrian Martinez’s head was wrapped like a mummy with streaming blood, his wrist looked like lasagna and his ribs were beat up.
Martinez looked scary, but those injuries are indicative of severe trauma that an emergency room physician might see. When a trauma patient arrives, physicians must remember a slew of procedures, because the first hour after an accident is the most important.
Call it the “Golden Hour.”
“That’s when you can do something to save a patient’s life,” said Charles W. Turner, a retired orthopedic trauma surgeon.
Turner is a volunteer with the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute at Fort Sam, Texas. He led a two-day course on advanced trauma techniques for nonsurgical doctors at the 121st Hospital.
The Advance Trauma Life Support class, created by the American College of Surgeons, was designed to teach “basic lifesaving procedures” to physicians who don’t have a surgical background, Turner said.
It focuses on ensuring that trauma patients have a clear airway, can breath and have adequate circulation, meaning they won’t bleed to death.
The physicians already know many theoretical parts of trauma care.
“We are just sharpening their skills in the trauma part of it,” Turner said.
Martinez and a few other soldiers were painted with fake blood and moulage designed to simulate injuries that trauma doctors would see, such as the results of car accidents and bullet wounds. Proctors evaluated the physicians’ diagnoses and responses.
Turner cautioned the course is geared toward not combat medicine but emergency room medicine.
Maj. John Tis, an orthopedic physician with the 121st Hospital, said the course helps doctors organize their thoughts in stressful trauma situations, improving confidence.
“You don’t really learn this in medical school,” Tis said.