Training America’s military medics

Military medics practice triage in the simulation lab at DMU. Photo by Sergeant Shelaine Harbart
Local medics practice at DMU’s Iowa Simulation Center.

Oh, my leg! My leg! My buddy needs help. I’ve got to help him. Help me up. I’ve got to help him!”

Master Sergeant Jeff Lindsey from Moberly, Mo., clutched a bloody splinter of bone protruding from his thigh. A medic tried to calm him as Lindsey struggled to stand, intent on helping a fellow Army reservist lying prone with a severe head wound.

This was the scene not on a battlefield but in DMU’s Iowa Simulation Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Skills on a July weekend, when 25 medics from the 4224th Army Hospital, based at Fort Des Moines, took part in triage training on campus. Lindsey and his comrades were adorned with realistic rubber “wounds” in a scenario designed to enable medics to practice determining which soldiers were most seriously wounded, treatable or able to wait while others received care.

“Your job as a U.S. Army hospital medic is to work in a hospital,” Lindsey explained to the other participants, “but you also may be deployed as an individual medic with a unit. So you need to be ready for both scenarios.”

The simulation lab and its lifelike medical mannequins and other equipment provided an ideal environment for the medics to get ready. “I was very impressed by the tools that were made available to us and believe they will enhance our training,” says Lindsey.

“The exercise was part of DMU’s ongoing commitment to help train Army, Army Reserve and National Guard medics and nurses, as well as students and civilian health care providers. Simulation lab users gain skills in diagnosis, treatment and teamwork.

Michael Flood, D.O., explains aspects of a medical mannequin. Photo by Sergeant Shelaine Harbart

“We want this center to be a resource for the community and the military,” says Michael Flood, D.O.’77, center chairman and DMU associate professor. “This is the future of medical education. It’s the best thing that’s happened in medical education since we put computers in the classroom.”

Working with military medics benefits DMU, too. “I’ve learned a lot from watching the medics and how they work together,” Flood says. “I’ll be able to take that back to our students.”

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