Home' Army News : March 17th 2011 Contents WORLD NEWS 13
Army March 17, 2011
By Cpl Zenith King
AS THE sun began to set over the
Multinational Base in Tarin Kot on
February 24 a 'nine-liner' casualty
evacuation request came through
to warn staff at the Role 2 medi-
cal facility a blast patient would
be arriving shortly by aeromedical
On duty in the trauma department
was a team of Australian medical per-
sonnel quickly preparing for what was
A report en route informed them a
16-year-old boy from Uruzgan prov-
ince was being brought in with a blast
injury to his hand after picking up
The distant murmur of a Black
Hawk was the first sign their patient
On duty at the time was MO Maj
"From the time the nine-lin-
er dropped, to the time the patient
arrived, was only about 15 minutes,
which was well inside the golden
hour," Maj Aldridge said.
"I was in my office when it came
through so I rang the RMO, Capt
Joshua Piercey and his team to let
them know a patient was coming in.
"We had some information about
what had happened and what the
patient's vital signs were. We also
knew his injuries and the treatment
that had been provided in the field."
As the patient was wheeled into
the resuscitation bay, it was down to
business for the Aussies who were sur-
rounded by specialists from the US
Navy on standby to move the patient
Capt Piercey was the team manager
and said the team was well prepared
before the patient's arrival.
"We were aware he had a serious
injury to his hand but we had to ensure
he wasn't bleeding anywhere else
first," Capt Piercey said.
"Obviously we had to be cognisant
of the injury, but we didn't want that
to distract us from the fact he might
have a more life-threatening illness we
hadn't yet discovered.
"Once we ascertained the patient
wasn't bleeding, his airway was stable
and he was breathing on his own, we
called in the orthopaedic surgeon from
the US Navy to assess the situation.
"Before being moved into theatre,
an x-ray was taken to ascertain the full
extent of his injuries.
"We then ensured all his lines were
secured and any drugs administered
had been recorded accurately and
relayed to the operating room."
By this time the resus team had
successfully stabilised the patient and
it was now up to a team of specialists
to perform limb-saving surgery.
Maj Aldridge, who has previous
trauma surgery experience, moved into
theatre to assist with surgery.
"The injuries from the blast meant
he had extensive damage to his hand
which required us to amputate the ends
of his first three fingers," he said.
"We will go back and have a look
in a day or two to see how the remain-
ing tissue looks, remove any more
dead or infected tissue if we need to
and then possibly repeat that again in a
couple of days time.
"Eventually we hope he will be left
with three good stumps and will still
have good function in that hand."
He said seeing and treating such a
young man could be upsetting, espe-
cially since, as far as he could ascer-
tain, he was an innocent victim of the
conflict. But, he said, the reward lay in
helping ensure he would have a func-
"It won't be a fully functioning
hand but he will still be able to use it
and we are immensely proud of that."
Trauma team to the rescue
Specialist care: Maj Oscar
Aldridge, left, and LCpl Gregory
Sorensen, MTF 2, work on a
patient in Tarin Kot (above).
The trauma team: Cpl Ellen
Greig, left, Capt Joshua
Piercey, Lt Jasmine Poole, Maj
Oscar Aldridge and Cpl Adam
Yates (left). Photos by Sgt Neil Ruskin
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