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Medical training saves lives
By Sgt. Edward Eagerton
  

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Malaysian Armed Forces medics look on as U.S. service members teach a class on initial trauma care during a Medical First Responders course as part of the Keris Strike 12 exercise at Camp Ulu Tiram, near Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Sept. 19.
CAMP ULU TIRAM, Malaysia -- The initial treatment a person receives when they are injured often decides the outcome of their injuries. A Medical First Responder course that focuses on the first response to injuries began Sept. 19 as part of Keris Strike 12 on Camp Ulu Tiram, near Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Keris Strike 12 is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and hosted annually by the Malaysian Armed Forces. Keris Strike 12 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. This exercise marks the sixteenth anniversary of this regionally significant training event.

"The purpose of this exercise is to enhance the medical training of the Malaysian Armed Forces by demonstrating to them how to instruct this course," explained Sgt. 1st Class David Baker, the training and operations non commissioned officer for the 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, Detachment 1, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. "This way, they can take the information back and train their own soldiers."

The course consists of four days of classroom instruction with some hands-on training and culminates with lane training where the Malaysian participants go into the field and perform the skills that were shared with them in class. These skills include things like properly applying tourniquets, putting splints on broken appendages, and how to provide care in combat scenarios.

"This class teaches how to apply small, life-saving measures until an actual medic arrives," said Spc. Brandon Dezarn, a healthcare specialist with the 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, Detachment 1, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

One of the fundamental points stressed throughout the lectures was that the proper diagnosis and treatment of injuries in the initial minutes have a critical impact on the outcome of the patient's condition. Medical first responders are trained to sustain the patient's injuries until they can be transported to fixed facilities like hospitals or aid stations to receive more comprehensive treatment.

On the first day of the event, 40 participants from the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) began the course with a mix of lectures, demonstrations, and practical exercises where they were given a chance to hone their skills in military first responder techniques by performing the tasks taught to them. All of the students in the class are themselves medics in the MAF.

"There's a bi-directional benefit to this kind of training," explained Sgt. Michael Cash, a healthcare specialist with the 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, Detachment 2, based in Fort Shafter, Hawaii. "We get to show our ways of treating people to each other, and it helps us build a relationship through knowledge and understanding."

"The importance of cross-training like this is we get to learn different ways of doing things," said Dezarn. "It's really great working with the Malaysians, and they're really excited about the classes.


 
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