JULY 26, 2017, SAN DIEGO (NNS) – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt’s (CVN 71) Medical department participated in a medical readiness inspection involving the most realistic simulations ever employed aboard an aircraft carrier, July 24.
Strategic Operations San Diego, or STOPS, a company which provides emergency training to military, law enforcement and first responders, was on hand to provide the enhanced realism via movie-quality special effects suits and mannequins for TR’s corpsmen.
“I’ve worked with these guys before,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Tabura. “While this is a first for any aircraft carrier, they’ve been doing this work for a while.”
This realism can benefit Sailors at every stage of emergency patient care.
“I think this was especially valuable for the younger Sailors,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Robert High. “They got a lot out of the enhanced moulage.”
Plastic or silicone wound simulations provide adequate placeholders and identifying characteristics for different types of wounds, but they do not provide the sensory association with real wounds. The more realistic equipment used by STOPS included fake blood and cut suits designed to give a medical response team the look and feel of real injuries, all the way up to amputations and surgery patients.
“It makes a real difference when you have blood and tissue to deal with while you’re dressing a wound,” Tabura said. “Giving our Sailors a chance to get familiar with how it feels to have a patient who is bleeding uncontrollably, run an IV in an injured patient or even do emergency surgery.”
A mass casualty drill on the flight deck started the inspection, and the Medical team had to contend with burns, lacerations, and amputations. The next phase involved emergency surgery.
“The surgery dummy and cut suit were great additions to the training,” High said. “We didn’t have any patients ‘die’ on us, but if we didn’t do something right, the patient’s status would degrade. That’s very useful for our corpsmen and doctors.”
An additional form of realism the STOPS team brought to the exercise was the use of time constraints, but those limitations weren’t simply a case of completing a task within a specific interval.
“One of the things the training team did was make us take the extra time for certain things,” High said. “Normally, during a drill, we go right away from one patient to the next, or we go right from having a blood donor to having a blood supply for a patient without a pause. The training time made us wait for these things, and that’s a good thing because it gets our people familiar with the feeling of how much time it really takes to save a life.”
Inspections like this ensure TR has adequate medical coverage for the upcoming scheduled deployment, and the opportunity to drill also provides an opportunity to train.
“After each evolution, the team let us know about new techniques we can use to improve our efficiency and help fight infections,” said High. “This was also a good way for our people to learn those new techniques, now that they have a better idea of what a real casualty situation will feel like.”
Theodore Roosevelt is about to depart for a composite training unit exercise with Carrier Strike Group 9, Destroyer Squadron 23 and Carrier Air Wing 17 in preparation for a scheduled deployment later this year.
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class R. David Valdez, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs