NEWS | July 2, 2012

Afghan flight medics train for air treatment

By Sgt. Daniel Schroeder , 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, June 29, 2012) — As the U.S. continues to prepare Afghan forces to conduct operations independent of U.S. support, the Army is training Afghan medics to properly implement medical care while in flight.

Staff Sgt. Miguel Valdez taught medical evacuation, or MEDEVAC, skills to Afghan National Army soldier Kushmal Muslimyar, a flight medic with the Kandahar Air Wing on June 19, on Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.

Valdez, a flight medic from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, is part of a movement by U.S. forces to train Afghan flight medics in the proper procedures for receiving a patient and providing treatment in flight.

During the training session, Muslimyar was shown how to receive, assess and administer care to patients who are en route to a medical facility. According to Valdez, the initial assessment is one of the most vital components of in-flight treatment.

“The assessment is very important,” said Valdez, who is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. “It is the basis for everything we need to do for a patient. In order to perform an accurate assessment, we conduct a systematic approach to checking the patient.”

The evaluation is a visual inspection for exterior bleeding or noticeable injuries followed by a tactile inspection for unseen injuries or interior bleeding. During the process, the patient may have to be rolled onto their side to check for injuries. For Muslimyar, learning this much detail shows the extent of the training.

“Every part is important; the learning, teaching and treating the patient,” he said. “This course is more in-depth than the training we previously had. This is the first time I get to receive this training on an important part of our mission.”

After the hands-on instruction of assessing a patient was complete, Muslimyar was next trained on how to receive a patient after landing, load the patient into the aircraft, and administer proper care once airborne. To simulate receiving a patient, he received information on casualty wounds and previously conducted care. Using that information, he gave instructions to the training crew on how the patient should be loaded.

Muslimyar began his assessment of the patient and hooked up a defibrillator to record the vital signs and output levels of the patient while in the back of a UH-60 Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter.

“He was already familiar with the defibrillator, but not familiar with what it can do,” Valdez said. “There are a lot of functions they don’t touch on the machine. I showed him the different sizes of pressure cuffs, what each component does and where to apply it to the patient.”

Next the training was taken indoors to better explain the readings on the defibrillator’s monitor. This was to teach Muslimyar what to look for when administering aid to a patient.

“During your assessment you get feedback from the body,” Valdez said. “Our training is progressive because one subject leads to the next. One of the most important things to remember is that all patients are different.”

Co. C, 3rd Bn., 25th Aviation Regt., 25th CAB has been conducting flight medic training since January to prepare Afghan flight medics to treat other Afghans in need during MEDEVAC missions. Future training will involve using the Afghan soldiers’ supplies and go further in depth with treatment and reactions to medications.