Navy Expeditionary Mobile Trauma Team demonstrates capabilities
BAHRAIN — The Navy showcased the capabilities of Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System (ERSS) team 15 during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) April 17.
ERSS teams consist of nine highly mobile trauma professionals focused on damage control, surgical resuscitation and attended transportation to a higher echelon of care. It is designed to provide a tailored, mission-specific medical capability close to the point of injury, which supports a range of military operations afloat and ashore. ERSS 15 is deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
"We perform expeditionary role II damage control life- and limb-saving surgery on amphibious and other expeditionary platforms in support of tactical missions in the AOR," said Navy Cmdr. Adnan Jaigirdar, a Navy doctor and the officer in charge of ERSS 15. "This allows for surgical support for more focused strategic missions."
In emergency medicine, the golden hour refers to a time period lasting for one hour, or less, following traumatic injury being sustained by a casualty or medical emergency, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death. Prompt treatment of serious injuries during the golden hour can often lead to better patient outcomes.
"Positioning a small surgical team, such as the ERSS, closer to the 'point of injury' allows for providing critical surgical care within the "golden hour" essential for life saving intervention," said Jaigirdar.
The modular expeditionary nature of the unit can be employed on the fleet operational platform such as the USNS Choctaw County, or at a forward-operating base. Through a three-module system that includes an Expeditionary Trauma Team (ETT), Expeditionary Surgical Team (EST), and En route Care Team (ECT), the ERSS will allow the expeditionary strike group or amphibious readiness group to support fleet operations, including disaggregate missions, and maintain immediate surgical response.
A surgeon leads the EST, and it performs all operations and is responsible for post-operative care of patients until arrival at the next level of care. The surgeon is ultimately responsible for all operating room equipment and supplies and serves as the officer in charge of the ERSS. The OIC is responsible for the health and welfare of the ERSS team, and acts as the liaison between the ERSS team, ship and tactical control leadership and the Fleet Forces Surgeon. Other professionals that serve on the EST include the anesthesia provider, critical care nurses, surgical technologists and general duty corpsmen.
The ECT is responsible for the initial emergent care of casualty patients and movement to and from receiving areas. An en route care nurse and emergency care nurse typically serve on the ECT team and provide care to patients during flights.
An emergency physician leads the ETT. The physician typically reports the number and type of casualty to the Expeditionary Surgical Team, and provides online medical instruction when not able to be physically present at the site of injury. Other professionals that serve on the ETT can include critical care nurses, independent duty corpsmen and general duty corpsmen.
As the Navy continues and increases the level of disaggregated and extended maritime interdiction operations, especially in the NAVCENT area of responsibility, ERSS continues to provide a critical role in delivering life-saving care, said Jaigirdar.
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