A traumatic scenario
“I’m sitting next to my severely wounded soldier comrade waiting impatiently for the field ambulance. A traumatic situation for all of us – what to do? We are indesperate need to do something for our friend and also for ourselves–it’s horrible to just wait. It feels like an eternity”.
Unfortunately this is not a unique scenario. Traumatic incidents affect everyone involved both the injured and bystanders. However,research has shown that ‘eliminating’ the feeling of uselessness by proceeding with determined actions minimises the risk of being severely traumatised.
The last four decades the focus of casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) has increased as a result of nations being engaged in conflicts far away from their own countries, an increasing number of terrorist actions and large nature catastrophes. With an almost ever-present media transmitting images of people in distress or of seriously wounded or even deceased into our living rooms, it is vital for nations to have satisfactory routines, procedures and equipment. Authorities need to assure soldiers and citizens that they are able to take care of their own people when wounded abroad, and bring them home for treatment and recovery.
After more than 60 years developing the routines and procedures, both within each nation and within coalitions, one would assume that terms and abbreviations as well as equipment interfaces would be harmonised between nations to ensure interoperability, flexibility and cross training.
A lot has been done in the past 20 years to achieve this.NATO has devel-oped standards for equipment as well as terminology; several yearly conferences – both military and civilian organised – contribute to the transfer of knowledge and experience between services and nations.
Nevertheless, most nations still have huge areas of improvement before they can claim perfection.
Standardisation and harmonisation between services and nations
While trying to ensure interoperability of services as well as national forces, we know that it is impossible to meet all interests. For example,the infantry soldiers want super-light and compact stretchers. For the vehicle operator it is vital that the stretcher fits into the actual stretcher support in the vehicle. The helicopter or aircraft operator needs a stretcher approved for aerial evacuation,while the wounded soldier has the best chances of survival and least pain if he is brought throughout the chain of evacuation on the same stretcher. Very often the result is different stretchers in different services, which arguably does not serve the patient.
Can the industry contribute to the process of harmonising, equipment, and assist armed forcesin developing and maintaining flexible solutions with high capacity acros sservices and nations?
Some potential CASEVAC-units:
There is a significant level of expertise and knowledge in the industry as well as in the medical services. NODIN Aviation suggests that this knowledge can catalyze the best solution for the customer and the industry can further improve their services to their
• Developing collaboration between companies to extend competence and capacity;
• Participating in arenas where the customers share their experience in field;
• Knowing, understanding and being loyal to applicable standards when designing solutions;
• Focusing on the patient and the medics, not the equipment, when doing innovative design solutions.
What can the customers do to make the suppliers better prepared to develop solutions, products and services that meet the needs of the patients?
NODIN suggests to:
• Improve the arenas where users share their experience in patient evacuation;
• Allow and encourage informal discussions between users and industry, enabling industry to fully understand the need;
• Describe the issue and/or the need, not the solution. The best solutions may not yet have been invented.
There is a significant effort in many nations to improve their CASEVAC and MEDEVAC capability and if these activities are fairly coordinated the international community will see a huge increase in the total capacity to bring injured people out of disaster areas.
Back to the introductory traumatised scenario
As a company focusing on products and concepts for CASEVAC and MEDEVAC in wars and catastrophes we are obliged to support with solutions focusing on the patient, the medics and everyone involved when developing innovative and first class solutions.
Our new CASEVAC KIT was developed to change the role of any vehicle and mobile platforms in the battlefield or catastrophe area. The KIT consists of a four-folded Field Stretcher and a Shock and Vibration Damped Stretcher Suspension System, all packed in a handbag. Using this kit, a vehicle or any mobile platform will be converted into a CASEVAC-Unit in 1 to 2 minutes.
The MEDEVAC Field Stretcher is designed and manufactured in accordance to military and civilian requirements for all platforms on land, at sea and in air.
In addition to increase the evacuation capacity this solution enables the comrades of the wounded soldier to contribute in a positive way and the action itself make the soldiers handle the traumatic situation better.