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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2021

BAMC emergency medicine doctors ready to deploy

By John Franklin Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Sixteen Emergency Medicine physicians recently completed their training at Brooke Army Medical Center and are now headed to their new duty assignments at units across the globe.

Although some will be assigned to facilities similar to BAMC, many will be deployed to locations where state-of-the-art care is not available. During their last months of residency, the doctors trained in combat-related trauma casualties in BAMC’s Emergency Department and participated in the Tactical Combat Medical Course taught by the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence.

“This course is more tailored to medical personnel who may be about to deploy,” explained Army Maj. Darren Hyams, one of the BAMC Emergency Medicine doctors managing the training.

During the five-day TCMC course, the physicians learned what medics face in providing care on the battlefield. Physician assistants, who have had multiple deployments in combat areas overseas, taught the course. During the training, instructors shared their years of practical experience with the students.

In the final week of training, the doctors “deployed” to JBSA-Camp Bullis for some hands-on experience with emergency medicine in an austere environment. Army MEDCoE and Critical Care Air Transport staff provided support to assist the ER physicians using simulations to ensure the doctors understood the process from a casualty’s point of injury to the movement out of the field and into a well-equipped facility. Many experienced trauma doctors, including retired military doctors, came out to volunteer their help to coach their fellow trauma doctors.

In one scenario, a medic played the role of a seriously wounded Soldier being sent to surgery. As the surgeon and EM doctor discussed what kind of care the casualty could receive at a forward location, the medic role player asked the two doctors what he could do in the same situation. After getting some coaching from the more experienced doctors, the medic resumed his role-play as the very seriously injured patient.

In addition to getting training on care for human patients, this year, the doctors learned about how to help Soldiers’ four-legged partners.

“What is the first thing you do for a wounded military working dog?” asked Army Capt. Elizabeth Punger, a doctor with the Army Veterinary Corps. “Make sure the muzzle is on,” she told them.“They really like to bite. The dogs get a strong endorphin release when they score a full mouth bite.”

Punger brought “Diesel Dog” to the training. “Diesel Dog” is a robotic K-9 Military Working Dog simulator that weighs as much as a real MWD.

As part of the exercise, the doctors received training on how to handle an MWD with a gunshot wound. During the training, Punger provided the doctors with an added layer of realism with Diesel Dog’s growls, yelps, and whines. The simulated dog, with Punger’s control, also changed its breathing rhythms during treatment to provide a more realistic scenario

Throughout their time at BAMC, the Emergency Medicine Department staff worked to ensure the graduating doctors receive the most comprehensive combat casualty care possible. The overarching goal is to train emergency medicine physicians to provide world-class emergency medical care for deployed military personnel.