Archives for March 20, 2003

Newlyweds in Paris

One of my cousins was recently wed, and their honeymoon is in Paris. I received this from them, forwarded:

(spouse) and I are sitting in some
computer dork infested gaming place
….. and since French keyboards are
wierd, I’ll keep it short …

Watched a little war coverage on SkyNews
this morning …. We’re ok (no bombs
here. What would be the point. The
French are wussies. Saddam doesn’t know
they exist) We’re now off to Versaille
…. we hope to squeeze in the Louvre
and the Eiffel Tower (after dark)



1MARDIV Medical

The 1st Marine Division is now reported (by CNN) to be on the move across the border from Kuwait into Iraq. I was part of the 1MARDIV for 4 years, but never (thankfully) in combat.

In peacetime most battalions will have one doctor and a variable number of corpsmen; memories play tricks, but I seem to recall the wartime TO for a BN was 2 doctors and about 48 corpsmen. At least half those corpsmen would be in the rifle companies (where the casualties would be most likely to occur), and a battalon aid station (BAS) with the doctors and corpsmen. They have had ATLS and have the ability to intubate (but not RSI unless things have changed recently), chest tubes, and pressure dressings. The docs have completed internships but no specialty training. They have crystalliod volume expanders but no blood, no cardiac monitor or defibrillator (although Corpsmen seem to appropriate things they think they’ll need, so individual units will be better equipped). This care is doctrinally given within about 1000 meters of the battle lines. The aim is all ATLS, and all aimed at ABC’s and evac.

The next stop is a Casualty Clearing Station, which should have a Dentist (Dental officers do triage in the Navy when the Surgeons are busy, and they’ll be busy), then a surgeon or an EP, or both. (Oh, the Dental officers do some backup anesthesia, too). The point here is the stabilization that didn’t happen at the BAS, then getting them to the fleet hospital in the right order. I think they can give untyped blood there, but no big operations wil happen. This is 1 – 10 miles behind the battle lines.

The next stop is either a Fleet Hospital or a Hospital Ship; these are scratch hospitals for trauma, heavy on surgeons, orthopedists, etc, for definitive stabilization. Then, if required, the casualty can be returned to a fixed medical facility for further care and rehabilitation. I never saw either of these, this is all from my initial battalion surgeon training.

Having been a battalion doc for the USMC, I know what their training, staffing and supplies are, and I wish them the best of luck. I sincerely hope things have changed, but when I was in there was only minimal casualty play in any training scenario, and we would not have been ready to evacuate our wounded. There’s a lot of reasons this training didn’t happen, and many are valid, but I sincerely hope this has changed. Here’s hoping for the best for them and their patients.