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Battlelab improves in-flight patient care

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dilia DeGrego
  • 305th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Specialists at the Air Mobility Battlelab here have resolved a significant lighting deficiency aboard aeromedical evacuation aircraft by developing a portable lighting kit prototype.

Because of insufficient lighting, several care providers reported having difficulty assessing patients, observing monitors and charting information, said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Timothy Kaczmar, a flight surgeon at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Crewmembers were relying on hand-held flashlights to provide patient care, said Maj. Allen Kidd, battlelab project manager.

The new lighting kit will improve KC-135 Stratotanker cargo compartment lighting, said Major Kidd.

The 18-month project began in December 2002 after battlelab officials received a proposal from Dr. Kaczmar.

"This is exactly what (the battlelab is) here for -- finding solutions; innovative solutions to problems for the warfighter in a relatively short time," Major Kidd said. "In this situation, as with all battlelab initiatives, our goal was to complete the project in 18 months or less, which is far shorter the than normal acquisitions process."

Once a prototype was developed, the battlelab staff performed two concept demonstrations during an actual KC-135 evacuation mission. Major Kidd said the demonstrations were extremely effective.

The lightweight kit provides low-cost light, consumes minor electrical power and is a simple design using readily available components, battlelab officials said. The kit is kept in a small case for easy loading on and off an aircraft.

Currently, the new lighting system is awaiting approval and funding from Air Mobility Command officials. Once approved, Major Kidd said it will be provided to aeromedical evacuation squadrons for use on KC-135s and possibly other aircraft. (Courtesy of AMC News Service)