21 July 2005

About Medical Evacuations to Germany

(See also Balad: First Step of a Long Journey Home)

Injured and ill soldiers are normally extracted by a medevac helicopter to a U.S. Army Combat Support Hospital (CSH) at a forward field operating base or FOB. Once they have undergone surgery, if necessary, and are in stable condition, their overall condition is evaluated. If doctors there agree on the need, the patients are then transported to a level II military treatment facility (MTF). The closest is Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

There are a number of aircraft used to medevac patients to Germany, the most common being C-17 Globemasters and C-130 Hercules. (C-141 Starlifters are typically used for the medevac from Germany on to the U.S.) The C-17 is configured to carry 48 litter patients on racks along the center of the aircraft and troop seats for 40 ambulatory patients along the walls. The C-130 can be configured to carry "all litter" with racks for 70 litter patients along the walls, or "all ambulatory", or a combination.

OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (AFPN) -- Capt. Kristen McCabe holds a soldier's hand and talks to him during his flight to Germany. The special forces soldier was seriously injured in an ambush in southern Afghanistan. McCabe is a Critical Care Aeromedical Transport Team nurse with the 438th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Keith Kluwe)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- U.S. Air Force aeromedical-evacuation technicians carry a soldier from the medical airlift staging facility at Baghdad International Airport to a C-130 Hercules. The 15 people who staff the MASF are responsible for getting sick and wounded people out of the combat environment and into a hospital where they can receive more extensive care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby)

Upon arrival at Ramstein AFB in Germany, the patients are transferred 5km by bus to LRMC where they are evaluated and admitted either to the hospital or to the Medical Transient Detachment outpatient facility.

The medical facilities in Germany are transitional facilities. After a short stay (3 days to 3 weeks), the patients either return to Iraq or Afghanistan or are flown to a medical facility in the US for further treatment.

To find out how you can support our injured and ill troops during their stay in Germany email me.

Two Videos about Medevac Flights to Germany

This first video shows the transport of non-critical and ambulatory patients. It starts at the CASF in Balad, Iraq. Patients on litters are taken from the CASF to the bus for transport to the aircraft. On the bus, the litters are suspended to reduce jarring during the short ride. The patients are awake and conversing with the Airmen of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing.

Then you'll see the inside of the aircraft where the litter patients are placed on "racks". Behind the racks you can get a glimpse of the ambulatory patients who sit along the outer sides of the aircraft in troop seats. Specialized in-flight medical personnel care for the patients during flight.

This video is about Critical Care Air Transport. The CCATT, or Critical Care Air Transport Team, is made up of highly specialized personnel experienced in the in-flight care of critically injured patients with multiple trauma, burns, and other life-threatening conditions.

The first green litter you'll see holds supplies/equipment. Later a team of six Airmen carries the first patient on board the aircraft. At about the 1:52 mark you get a good look at what is required to safely transport critical patients out of theater. The patient's head is to the right of the shot. Equipment is mounted on a raised rack over his lower extremeties.

The medical equipment includes miniature versions of everything found in a typical critical care hospital environment: Complete monitoring of vital organ functions, ventilator, an electronically-controlled multi-channel infusion (IV) system, electronic wound vacs, and drains and other catheters as required by the patient's condition.

After arrival at Ramstein Air Base the patients are accompanied by medical personnel during the 5km drive to Landstuhl hospital. A few days later the process is reversed as the patients are again prepared for flight, this time from Germany to the US - the last leg of a long journey home.

1 comment:

roobaby41@yahoo.com said...

Now I know why they call those airplaces 'Starlifters". They call them that because they carry America's stars - wounded heroes and heroines and the stars who care for them!