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A textbook for tough work

by Barb Boose No Comments
“You will never find anyone more sincerely dedicated to those in need, whether in conflict or in a humanitarian effort, than those [military] medics.”

Colonel Patricia Hastings’ expertise in emergency and combat medicine is accompanied by a professional passion for the people she trains. Hastings, D.O.’83, R.N., M.P.H., FACEP, is director of U.S. Army Emergency Medical Services (EMS) based at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, home of the Army Medical Command headquarters. For three years she was director of combat medic training at the installation, during which she trained approximately 8,000 medics a year.

“You will never find anyone more sincerely dedicated to those in need, whether in conflict or in a humanitarian effort, than those medics,” she says.

Last year, Hastings became one of two editors of a new textbook, 68W Advanced Field Craft: Combat Medic Skills (Jones and Bartlett Publishers). Its 602 pages cover battlefield care for a wide variety of injuries, wound care, infection control, mental health, environmental emergencies and more. Hastings wrote the textbook’s preface and co-wrote its final chapter, “International Humanitarian Law for Combat Medics.”

“These soldiers understand the reality of war and disasters in ways that few people do, yet they still respond,” she stated in the preface. “Combat medics live the Army values every day and epitomize what is best in our Army.”

The first textbook of its kind, 68W Advanced Field Craft replaced the previously used pile of Xeroxed sheets of paper. It was named a 2009 “Hot Product” at the 27th annual EMS Today Conference and Exposition, hosted by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. The journal’s product review team selected just 30 works out of tens of thousands of EMS products for the honor, for being “innovative, functional and potentially life-saving” and offering “remarkable improvements to patient care and provider performance.”

Hastings enlisted in the Army to pay for her medical education and says she’s since had, “at taxpayer expense, a great career.” In addition to her service in the States, she has provided care in refugee camps in Africa, trained physicians and medics in Nepal and, in 2004, worked at a combat support hospital in Iraq.

“When they stop giving me jobs I love, I’ll quit,” she jokes. “My passion is taking care of soldiers and civilians. And I like working with other countries to help them put together systems for response.”

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