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Civilian medical providers learn military medic trauma care

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FORT DRUM — The only noises that could be heard in the dark, smoke-filled war zone were gunfire and the faint breaths of wounded soldiers who were assessed and treated by medics.

That training exercise Tuesday at the post’s Bridgewater-Vaccaro Medical Simulation Training Center showed civilian emergency medical service providers what treatment practices are used in combat, giving the civilian providers ideas on how local protocols could be improved in treating patients.

Capt. Martin L. Stewart, who is in charge of the simulation center, said civilian providers are able to learn from those in the military because the success of its treatment is backed up by data. On the civilian side, those data just haven’t been collected, he said.

“The civilian side is traditionally many years behind the Army side as far as developments in trauma treatment,” Capt. Stewart said.

Charles F. Brenon III, Jefferson County’s director of emergency services, said during the classroom portion of the daylong training exercise that he learned that civilian EMS providers could look into implementing TXA, a medication used by the military to promote blood clotting. Civilian EMS providers already use hemostatic gauze. Going by the trade name of “quick clot,” the gauze rapidly causes blood clotting to stop severe bleeding.

That was one of the many supplies Sgt. Chasity M. Moment used Tuesday, as she showed civilian EMS providers how to care for a flesh wound in battle.

“We’ll get a lot of shrapnel that makes a hole, then a tunnel,” she said, as she explained she will stick her finger in the wound to see how far back the gauze needs to be packed in.

If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work the first time, she said it must be removed and done with fresh material, as it won’t work when wet.

About 50 people attended the training, from military medics to civilian EMS workers from LifeNet air medical service, South Jefferson Rescue Squad, Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service, and Guilfoyle Ambulance Service, among other providers.

Capt. Stewart said River Hospital physician Troy Johnson led a lecture earlier in the day on how civilian medical providers handle improvised explosive device wounds. The lecture related to pressure cooker bombs and other IED devices/materials used in the Boston Marathon bombings.

“It’s really relevant because it will only get worse on this soil,” Capt. Stewart said.

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