|TIKRIT, Iraq, July 12, 2006 -- Combat Lifesaver training is a bridge between first aid training and the combat medic -- and it is saving lives in Iraq.
The Combat Lifesaver Course is taught primarily to the Armys active duty, Reserve and National Guard, but at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, the class is offered to anyone who wants it.
The course is open to more people than just the Army, said Sgt. Tonia Manley, CLS course instructor, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 101st Airborne Division. Ive taught the course to KBR (Kellogg, Brown and Root), Blackwater security, British Forces, Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police.
Manley related how she taught a group of KBR truck drivers who came back and thanked her for the training. Their convoy had been attacked and sustained casualties. Not only did the class help save lives, it also allowed the truck drivers to treat the injured and get the convoy rolling down the road in a timely manner.
James Ellis, executive officer for the Regional Reconstruction Operations Center, North Iraq, sends his employees through the class as many of their missions take them into regions where it could take hours to receive medical support. He believes this training could bridge that gap and save lives in the event of trouble.
The training includes evaluating a casualty, opening and managing a casualtys airway, treating penetrating chest trauma, decompressing a collapsed lung, controlling bleeding, administering intravenous fluids.
The class is continuously being updated with new products and procedures. Some of the newer techniques include treatment of a collapsed lung by puncturing the chest cavity, placing a nasopharyngeal airway to ensure unrestricted breathing, inserting an I.V. saline lock as opposed to the previous technique of always starting I.V. fluids.
There are also new products available. Hextend I.V.s increase the volume of blood plasma. Quick Clot is a powder, made from potato starch, which acts to cauterize a wound and the Chitosan Bandage, stops severe bleeding by sealing the wound.