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Travis AFB medics set to deploy to Haiti

1/19/2010 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Fifty-eight medical staff assigned to the 60th Medical Group are set to provide medical and humanitarian relief to the earthquake ravaged nation of Haiti.

Personnel from the David Grant USAF Medical Center are bringing a 10-bed, completely portable "hospital in a box" known as an expeditionary medical support unit. The EMEDS will represent the first Air Force medical assets to be airlifted from Travis to Haiti.

Accompanying the EMEDS will be an elite three-member Critical Care Air Transportation Team - essentially a flying intensive care unit.

"Our time has come," said Col. (Dr.) Brian Hayes, the commander of the 60th Medical Group during remarks before the EMEDS team. "Years from now, when your family members will ask you what you did in the Air Force, I'm sure this will be one of the most memorable events in your lives and medical careers that you will look back on and tell your story."

The mission of an EMEDS team, which includes physicians, nurses, and a variety of medical technicians, is to rapidly deploy and provide forward stabilization, primary care, and dental services to support a population-at-risk of 3,000 to 5,000 people. The EMEDS+10 package and personnel being airlifted to Haiti are capable of providing medical and dental care for seven days in an austere environment without re-supply.

Critical Care Air Transport Teams assist in carrying out the mission of the Air Force's aeromedical evacuation system, which includes air transport of patients under medical supervision while delivering optimal care.

Once deployed, the CCATTs are a limited, rapidly-deployable resource available in selected situations to supplement the aeromedical system. They are engaged after a patient has received essential, stabilizing care by supported ground medical support personnel. CCATTs are able to continuously monitor and maintain stabilization of critically ill/injured/burned patients during patient movement activities in either an inter- or intra-theater aeromedical mission support role.

"Since we heard the first news reports coming out of Haiti, the 60th Medical Group has been planning and preparing for an official tasking," said Col. John Mansfield, the deputy commander of the 60th Medical Group. "In fact, our medical readiness unit here at DGMC did an outstanding job in getting a team assembled and medically prepared to deploy within a 12-hour timeframe."

The 10 beds in the EMEDS will provide complex medical and surgical inpatient capability consistent with the in-country evacuation policy, as determined by the on-scene commander. The core infrastructure provides additional ancillary support, medical equipment maintenance and facility management, although blood storage, collection and transfusion capability is limited.

An additional 25 personnel from DGMC are prepared to augment the initial EMEDS team after deployment. When combined, the 83-member staff can provide medical care for a 25-bed hospital capable of supporting 5,000 to 6,500 Haitian refugees.

"The surgeon general of the Air Force has called upon us to do a job, and we will not let him down," said Colonel Mansfield. "He is excited for us and wishes he could deploy with us to support a foreign nation that has suffered a major disaster. Our country and our leadership has put their faith in our ability to be ready. It's about saving lives ... that's our job."



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