Ex Joint Warrior 13 Military Medics Demonstrate ‘Entente Medicale’

From treating casualties on the battlefield to providing hospital care after surgery, British and French military medics have trained to deploy together on operations during Ex Joint Warrior.

A key training task saw a female soldier with a simulated gunshot wound follow the pathway from point of wounding to recovery in a field hospital. After being brought off the battlefield, medics from 16 Med Regt gave the casualty life-saving resuscitation and damage control surgery. A French Puma helicopter then evacuated her to 22 Field Hospital, which was set up 100 miles away in Carlisle. A waiting ambulance transferred the casualty to the emergency department, where she was assessed and taken to an operating theatre for surgery. She was then moved to the hospital’s ward, where she could be held for observation before further evacuation.

Maj Alex Woodward-Court, 16 Air Assault Brigade’s medical staff officer, said: “The patient care pathway should be as smooth as possible. Our medical assets are used only to buy the patient time and it is critical that we have a plan for onward evacuation, in this case provided by a Puma from our French partners. It has been particularly beneficial to practice the route to the Field Hospital, where our soldiers would receive excellent and ongoing care.”

French Army doctor Maj Sami Saliba said: “It has been an excellent experience to work alongside British medical units on a demanding exercise like this. We have been able to build familiarity with each other’s kits and procedures and identify how we can work together more closely.”

As well as testing their medical skills, troops practised moving by air and the limitations that imposes on the amount of equipment that can be carried. 16 Med Regt’s Air Assault Surgical Group, which provides A&E, X-Ray, surgical tables, and intensive treatment facilities, arrived in West Freugh in a rapid landing by two C-130 transport aircraft.

Emergency department nurse Cpl David Dimba, said: “We’ve trained as we would deploy, with only two vehicles to move ourselves and our hospital facilities around, which is a constraint. We’ve also had the opportunity to test the delivery of our medical incident response team on all the helicopters we work with, including French Pumas. I’ve only been with the Regt for three weeks but this exercise has shown me how challenging and exciting contingency ops could be.”

The exercise saw Aldershot-based 22 Field Hospital’s large team of nurses, doctors and allied health professionals deploy for the first time in a new air-portable configuration. The unit is equipped to provide comprehensive hospital care in a safe area close to where operations are taking place, such as a neighbouring friendly country.

Maj Nell Light, 22 Field Hospital’s 2ic said: “We are delighted to hold this Very High Readiness task and look forward to providing top-quality care to 16 Air Assault Brigade.”

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