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NEWS | Aug. 30, 2021

Global Medic tests new field hospital structure

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

The first Global Medic exercise since conversion of the combat support hospital to a field hospital was conducted here the first three weeks of August 2021.

“This is significant for a field hospital to set up for a modular design and familiarize with the new equipment to effectively be a combat enhancer and support the warfighter,” said Capt. Sarah Williams, health services personnel manager with the 18th Field Hospital.

“From a command and control viewpoint, the exercise allows the command staff to understand and experience firsthand the integration of a field hospital command staff and hospital center headquarters and how these units integrate and coordinate world-class health care through Role 3 services.”

Williams explained that “Role 3 facilities are equipped to provide care to all categories of patients, to include resuscitation, initial wound surgery, damage control surgery and postoperative treatment. Role 3 includes hospitalization and outpatient services in an area of operations.”

Another first was the use of medical air beam shelters by the 18th Field Hospital. The tent is nothing but air and goes up quickly with less manpower. The shelters take about 45 minutes to erect with an air compressor. When in place, the tents provide space for a complete array of medical services.

Taking part in the exercise at Tactical Training Base Patriot were the 810th Hospital Center, 18th Field Hospital, 304th Medical Detachment and 335th Medical Detachment, Fort Story, Va., and 407th Medical Detachment, Tuscaloosa, Ala., along with units from the Air Force.

The 18th Field Hospital is self-sufficient, having its own laundry and bath capabilities along with a kitchen system. The unit has a dietician and food service workers to provide breakfast and dinner in the field. It also has a unit ministry team.

A patient brought to the training site during an exercise inject will first be seen at the triage section. “Last night 24 casualties came through,” said Maj. Iris Brown, chief nurse with the 18th Field Hospital.

After evaluation of the extent of injuries, the casualty is moved to the patient administration division, which tracks every Soldier. If a higher level of care is needed, the PAD medical evacuation coordinator works with the Air Force Air Evacuation Liaison Team. If the patient is stable enough, he or she can go by ground ambulance to the next treatment location for continued care.

Captain. Kay McAmis is the officer in charge of the Air Force AELT. She’s assigned to the 302nd Air Lift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. “We assist the Army in understanding how the Air Force operates. We have specific equipment and ways we package and track patients,” she said. “We train the Army to understand the computer system to track patients so they can operate independently after we leave. It’s a joint effort to provide great patient care.”

Other functions available within the air beam tents included an operating room, radiology to find other injuries not evident during triage, intensive care unit, intermediate care ward and two laboratories. A minimal care detachment provides physical therapy and occupational therapy services.

“The biggest challenge I’ve faced is getting set up and operational, said Maj. Susan Williamson, ICW OIC. “But working in the ICW is a rewarding job.”

Spc. Shanickqua Ballard, a 68C licensed practical nurse with the 304th Medical Detachment, who works in the ICW, said, “We ensure the patients feel stable and safe.” She finds the patient care she does in the ICW gratifying.