Improvements More Than Cosmetic at Troop Medical Clinic
By Spc. Angel D. Martinez
113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – In a war zone, casualties happen. Military medics and doctors have to be up-to-date in medical procedures and use of equipment in order to save lives.
That is why the 566th Area Support Medical Company is upgrading several areas of the Witmer Troop Medical Clinic, to give better service to the thousands of Soldiers on the base camp.
“The trauma room was functional, but not to the best that it could be set up,” said Pinole, Calif., native Capt. Nathan T. Boykin, an orthopedic physician’s assistant from the Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., who serves in western Baghdad attached to 566th Area Support Medical Company. “I decided to take it as a project to do while we’re here and make it more functional and up-to-date for the treatment of casualties.”
In an effort to keep the medical clinic up-to-date, one defibrillator on each of the two beds in the trauma room and another on a crash cart to roll wherever it is needed are part of the room’s setup. That was probably the biggest upgrade, said Boykin.
“Before, we had one table in the center with a ‘Life Pack 10’ (an older defibrillator model), so if we had two patients who needed to be shocked, we only had one machine to do it,” said Boykin.
Unlike older defibrillators, these are approved for aviation use and can also be used to check all the important vital signs, such as temperature, monitor the amount of carbon dioxide which the patient inhales and measures blood pressure and the oxygen level in it, he added.
Personnel at the clinic said they feel it is their duty to provide the best care possible to troops.
“Our business is to take care of the Soldiers in this camp and the Soldiers outside the wire,” said Boykin. “Every day, I walk from my (trailer) to this clinic and I see the guys suiting up to go out side the wire. It really humbles us, because we have it pretty easy – we don’t have to (go out on missions). They deserve everything they can get.”
Another upgrade in the trauma room is the trauma beds. Now the beds are not just litters, but trauma tables on which the litters and other medical apparatus can be hooked onto conveniently for better access by medics when treating patients. These trauma tables also allow for fluid drainage.
Although only two patients can be seen simultaneously in the clinic’s trauma room, the clinic has five additional exam rooms for less critical patients.
The clinic also has its own laboratory, an X-ray room and a behavioral health specialist, as part of the team, for combat stress-related needs.
Sometimes casualties have to be treated on the move, and that is when speed and precision are needed. Most military ambulances have cases with supplies high inside the vehicle’s interior. These supplies are usually needed quickly, so Boykin came up with some changes inside his ambulances, as well.
“What we did here was put these cases on the doors and walls, so that you have easy access to all medical supplies,” said Boykin. “I don’t know if you have seen the ambulances rolling around with the chest strapped to the top, those are medical supplies up there. Someone has to go on top, grab the chest, throw it down, open the chest and get the supplies.”
The ambulances, the trauma room and the defibrillators are not the only upgrades in store for this TMC.
Other projects are on the list for the upcoming weeks are adding lights and building an awning for patients in the outside waiting area and extending the concrete floor to form a trauma pad for quick access from the ambulance to and from the trauma room. They also planned to replace the vinyl floor with approximately 6,000 sq. feet of tile.