19 May 2009

EFMB - the mark of distinction among medical professionals

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Gutierrez runs to the next obstacle while testing for the Expert Field Medical Badge on Camp Bullis, Texas, May 13, 2009. The course tests a soldier's mental and physical toughness during a real time medical evacuation. DoD photo by Benjamin Faske.

The Expert Field Medical Badge, or EFMB, is earned by a only a fraction of the hundreds who try for it every year, and almost no one makes it on their first attempt.

The physically and mentally demanding testing including a written test, emergency medical treatment, a litter obstacle course, land navigation and a 12-mile march.

During the emergency medical treatment portion of the test, soldiers must evaluate and treat three casualties under a strict time limit in a simulated a combat environment. The casualties must be evaluated quickly - the medics deciding who needs treatment most and acting. They treat mock head wounds, sucking chest wounds and bleeding gunshot wounds. In total, the candidates are required to carry out more than 250 tasks of various significance under battlefield conditions that include sniper fire, smoke, rocket blasts and the casualties' cries for help.

The EFMB is the most prestigious peacetime badge awarded to medical personnel.

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