Fort Bliss, Tx. –
William Beaumont Army Medical Center conducted a trauma exercise on August 10, 2023, where a mock patient posed as a burned 16-year-old and had to be medically evacuated through the air to the hospital’s emergency room.
The purpose of the trauma exercise was to train and test processes and systems in place to ensure their effectiveness and improve any areas that can facilitate the situation to better outcomes. This exercise was also done with the assistance of Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2-501st General Support Aviation Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
"Part of our military population is pediatric patients,” said Monica Diaz, WBAMC trauma nurse educator. “This was a mock pediatric trauma, (and) although we don’t admit pediatric patients here, we still have a responsibility to our military families to provide the best pediatric patient care prior to transport. We have to be ready to get them stabilized and prepared to transfer them out.”
The pediatric patient actor was Sgt. Cody Galbraith, C Co., 2-501st GSAB, and Diaz prepared him to be a pediatric patient as realistic as possible by ensuring he had the right movie make-up on and pre-burned clothing. Galbraith began the scenario not only in full costume, but from start to finish, he was hauled around in a helicopter, to an ambulance at the hospital’s landing pad, and into a trauma-room on a stretcher, where emergency nurses and doctors quickly began to assess and stabilize him. This entire effort took over two hours of training time for the nearly 30 personnel involved.
“I think they did really well,” said Galbraith. “It was really cool to see them work together, but also to make sure we are able to see how well they treat the patient in a timely manner.”
First Sgt. Charles Baily and Staff Sgt. Ronald Leek, C Co., 2-501st GSAB, participated in not only the exercise itself, but also in the after-action review, to provide comments to the crew and staff.
“It was realistic training that provided a lot of experience and feedback about better ways to take care of our patients and get them to a high level of care faster and more efficiently,” said Leek. “We are always looking forward to getting realistic training.”
“It was an important opportunity for us to stress our systems,” said Baily. “We don’t worry so much about our pilots and medics being able to fly, but it’s those things in between like communication and tracking the movement of the patient that can fall apart. So, it was good to stress those systems out and improve things that we find need a little bit of improvement. It adds to the capability and skill that we provide, and we provide MEDEVAC coverage to a very large area.”
Diaz emphasized that the reason these exercises are done are to ensure readiness for staff and readiness for the patients.
“(Patients) will know that we will take good care of them and that their ER staff is amazing,” said Diaz. “As a trauma educator, my job is to put everything together in the most real-life simulation that we can, so we can get real-life feedback, so that when it happens in the real world or in real-time, everybody is ready and it will go smoothly, like second-hand nature.”
In the future, WBAMC emergency department aims to become a pediatric ready facility.
Photo By: Amabilia Payen
Caption: William Beaumont Army Medical Center emergency room staff begin to stabilize a mock pediatric patient in one of the emergency room trauma bays during a trauma exercise on August 10, 2023.