24. December 2004 · Comments Off on News From A Real-Life MASH · Categories: Military

Army Captain Ken Jones, 67th Combat Support Hospital, Mosul, Iraq, reports on the newsletter of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business:

The bottom line here is that the business processes of a Combat Support Hospital are very different than those of a fixed facility hospital. The soldiers of the 67th CSH work in both of these environments. Managing the change between them challenges these men and women every day.

While many would argue that the Armed Forces are more of a calling than a corporation, there are clear parallels that can be made between international business and the business of fighting wars. Command hierarchy, specialized units, time and distance, communication and logistics are common to any large organization spread out over several countries. And while the changing face of business keeps competitors fighting to create or maintain competitive advantage, nothing compares to the changing face of today’s battlefield. Leading in the face of change, managing and capitalizing on such change, and adjusting the way we do business are keys to the United States Armed Forces competitive advantage.

Yes, Capt. Jones: In any unit, the ability to adjust and adapt rapidly is the key to successful warfare. the Armed Forces of the United States have proven, time and again, that if the politicians stay out of the way, they get the job done.

Also from the 67th CSH, Major Michael Cohen reports on his blog:

Back inside we all started going to work taking care of patients. Every area of the hospital was running like crazy. The lab was running tests and doing a blood drive to collect more blood. The pharmacy was preparing intravenous medications and drips like crazy. Radiology was shooting plain films and CT scans like nobody’s business. We were washing out wounds, removing shrapnel, and casting fractures. We put in a bunch of chest tubes. Because of all the patients on suction machines and mechanical ventilators, the noise in the ICU was so loud everyone was screaming at each other just to communicate.

Here are some of our statistics. They are really quite amazing:

91 total patients arrived.

18 were dead on arrival

4 patients died of wounds shortly after arrival, all of these patients had non-survivable wounds.

Of the 69 remaining patients, 20 were transferred to military hospitals in other locations in Iraq.

This left 49 patients for us to treat and disposition.

9 surgeries performed in the operating room

7 of which were open laparotomies, all of which had significant findings

10 surgeries were performed outside of the operating room (multiple irrigation and drainage of shrapnel wounds and two finger amputations)

8 patients required mechanical ventilation

14 chest tubes were placed

39 CT scans were done.

Over 200 plain radiographs were done.

294 tests were performed by the lab.

40 units of blood products were transfused (32 units of PRBC’s, 4 units of whole blood, and 4 units of FFP)

217 intravenous medications were prepared by the pharmacists

Over 300 total prescriptions were filled

I completely lost track of time, so I am not sure when we finally got most of the return to duty patients out, but I am guessing it was around 1800. Then it was time to start taking care of the patients on the wards. More washouts, more CT’s, and more chest tubes. It was not until around 2330 that we could actually sit back, catch our breath, and relax. There was not one person in our CSH that did not work their butts of today. The team work and overall job performance were second to none. As the docs sat around and tried to analyze what had just occurred we were all shocked. We could not believe what we had just been through. But even more important, we could not believe the way the CSH handled this situation which completely overwhelmed our system. By definition a mass casualty situation is when the number of patients and their injuries exceed the available resources . This was the mass casualty of all mass casualties.

At around 0200 an Air Force Critical Care Aeromedical Team (CCAT) arrived to take the patients to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany. It took two CCAT teams about two hours to load the 12 patients that we were sending out. You could actually now hear yourself think in the intensive care unit.

I just wonder… When we get back to Germany what are we going to do for excitement?

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