HomeNewsArticle Display

Critical-care teams quick to respond

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Capt. Cynthia Bond checks in on a patient during a critical-care air-transport team mission.  Bond is a team nurse with the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and is deployed from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Stephanie Schaefer)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Capt. Cynthia Bond checks in on a patient during a critical-care air-transport team mission. Bond is a team nurse with the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and is deployed from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Stephanie Schaefer)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Critical care air transport teams, charged with moving the seriously wounded or ill, have a job similar to firefighters.

“Our gear is packed, ready and positioned near aircraft loading points. We can be airborne in minutes and fly anywhere in the area needed,” said Maj. William H. Cody. He is a team nurse with the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at a forward-deployed location. “It’s a lot like teams that respond to fires when the alarm sounds. We have to be just as quick.”

The base is staffed with three, three-person teams -- two active-duty airmen and one reservist -- consisting of a doctor, nurse and respiratory technician. The teams are regionally responsible for patient collection, injury stabilization, airborne care en route and transfer of care to the next echelon of medical support. Patients can be U.S. servicemembers, coalition forces, civilians or whoever may need help.

A single team brings enough stretchers and medical instruments to support multiple patients simultaneously. The equipment, which can weigh 1,000 pounds per kit, includes ventilators, gear to monitor vital signs and intravenous fluids.

“We pack and plan for worst-case scenarios where we might have to care for more patients than expected,” Cody said. “The base’s numerous transport aircraft make it a perfect spot from which to operate.”

Ideally before evacuation, a patient is stabilized at the closest medical facility to where the injury or illness took place. During that time, if the team is needed, it is notified immediately.

“We carry radios, pagers and cell phones to minimize our response time when the notification comes,” said Capt. Cynthia Bond, a team nurse. “Depending on the situation, a patient may be brought to the aircraft with engines running. At other times, there’s time to visit the medical facility at the patient-pickup site and do an assessment prior to transport.”

The teams complement aeromedical evacuation counterparts, and the two routinely fly together. The evacuation teams normally handle nonlife-threatening injuries while the critical-care teams have special training in managing critical patients in less-than-ideal patient-care environments.

“In hospitals, we don’t normally pick up and transport equipment. We also don’t normally work in pressurized environments or in situations where patients and medical equipment are bouncing around in a cabin,” Bond said. “Blood pressures and heart rates tend to fluctuate in the air, too.”

“We don’t have access to the same medical equipment and resources found in hospitals (while in flight), so we learn ways to adapt,” Cody added. “These are just some of the areas that must be considered.”

Sometimes, critical-care teams get surprised. On one occasion, team members expected to pick up two patients. Instead, “we were greeted with eight critical patients, 14 ambulatory and three doctors from a foreign country,” Cody said. “It can make things interesting.”

At other times, missions can be high profile. In September, a critical-care team here transported two United Nations bombing victims from Iraq. Regardless of the mission, team members said they feel a loss when the job is done.

“We never seem to hear how our patients are doing after we’ve passed them to the next medical provider,” Bond said. “We try and help the process by presenting our patients with (team) coins. We want them to keep in touch, and it’s our way of thanking them for the work they’ve done. We’re proud of them!”

Furthermore, if a patient’s situation warrants Purple Heart consideration, team members often take initiative and assist with the nomination process.

The critical-care teams have treated victims of bullet and shrapnel wounds, burns, respiratory infections, vehicle accidents and more. Thankfully, business is now slow.

“During the war, we were flying daily,” Cody said.

“Now we fly once or twice a week,” said Bond, who added that reduced flying hours is not necessarily a bad thing.

“We want to take great care of our patients from the time we pick them up to the time we drop them off,” she said. “But we consider any day we don’t fly a good day because it means our services weren’t needed.”

“Our teams are very unique in what they do,” Cody said, “and because of this, they’re very important to what’s going on with the war on terrorism.”

Engage

Twitter
'Tis the season ❄️ Special warfare Airmen conduct training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The small… https://t.co/SGjNKpNdYf
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: ICYMI: F16s from @Spangdahlem_AB are in the @CENTCOM AoR as part of a dynamic force employment to deter aggression & promote…
Twitter
Air power on display. https://t.co/M5SUj3Gq9K
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT invests $3 million to upgrade its Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid AB, Qatar. The CAOC also touted its dis…
Twitter
Global reach A B-52 Stratofortress flies in formation with F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-15E Strike Eagles during a… https://t.co/nw1bwI08gH
Twitter
The record scoring provides objective data for more informative assignment placement, hiring for special duty posit… https://t.co/zynYnvbMaC
Twitter
Updating training to better prepare future leaders Squadron Officer School's new curriculum challenges students to… https://t.co/pcbCqVbQ4F
Twitter
What are you having for dinner? 🍗 This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for our Airmen and families who make sacrifi… https://t.co/ID1vU6CWkH
Twitter
Looking to the future The Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold AFB, Tennessee, is leading the way for… https://t.co/uPDfihgdmq
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: #ICYMI @DMAFB trained dynamic force employment and agile combat employment during Exercise Bushwhacker 20-07. @ACC_Commander
Twitter
Ensuring the Nuclear Triad remains safe, secure, effective and ready. @MaxwellAFB, Alabama was selected as the pre… https://t.co/3ntc4MdzK8
Twitter
During the spring of 2020, the 35th Contracting Squadron solicited 35th Fighter Wing units for innovative ideas tha… https://t.co/y0H3oNR87q
Twitter
Coming in hot Crew chiefs assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Air Maintenance Squadron conduct hot-refuel training… https://t.co/bOue5e3y08
Twitter
Honoring heritage. The Tuskegee Airmen were not only pilots, they were support personnel as well. Although better… https://t.co/9dJPHKfnXS
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you @Ng_Eng_Hen for welcoming me to discuss the close U.S.-Singapore security partnership. The @USAirForce looks f…
Twitter
Measuring base readiness @Spangdahlem_AB Airmen participated in a base readiness exercise on Nov. 17. During the e… https://t.co/DK6PKX7Irs
Twitter
The Digital University was recently launched to increase digital literacy, by providing access to free courses to a… https://t.co/0fq0lgPEvu
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,313,369
Follow Us