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A patient is transported by hospital corpsmen with Charlie Company, 2nd Medical Battalion during operation Cold Turkey at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 5, 2017. The training exercise is designed for military medical personnel to sharpen their ability to treat casualties in a trauma situation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley Lawson)

Photo by Cpl. Ashley Lawson

Operation Cold Turkey heats up: 2nd Med Bn trains to save lives

7 Dec 2017 | Cpl. Ashley Lawson 2nd Marine Logistics Group

U.S. Navy hospital corpsmen and doctors with Charlie Company, 2nd Medical Battalion participated in Operation Cold Turkey at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Dec. 4-7, 2017.

The training is designed for medical personnel attached to shock trauma platoons and forward resuscitation surgical units to maintain high survival rates, improve their resource management and sharpen their ability to treat a casualty in the event of a trauma situation.

The two sections provide the first life-saving interventions in an austere environment and have the ability to train the new Sailors. When they are not deployed, the unit’s continue to train in order to maintain combat readiness.

“The Sailors are assessed on a multitude of factors,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Erika Bourque, an instructor with Combat Trauma Management. “We observe how they keep their patient calm, provide care and make the decision to send the patient back to their unit or to a surgical ward.”

Initially, the Sailors received notional casualties directly after sustaining a simulated injury and safely transported them to a tent stocked with medical supplies. After assessing the patient, they made a swift conclusion on treatment and carried out the steps necessary to stabilize them.

“We are the turnover spot from the kill zone, so it’s imperative that we are able to make quick decisions,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Keydeniers, a hospital corpsman with the unit. “If we can’t complete the needed care, we call for a medical evacuation to transport them to a higher echelon of care.”

The training included several different injury scenarios for the Sailors to include broken bones and chest wounds. The medical interventions ranged from taking X-rays to treating hypothermia and shock.

“This training is an absolute must for maintaining unit requirements and being able to operate effectively in a forward deployed environment,” said Bourque.

According to Bourque, their combat life-saving efficiency depends on how well the Sailors work together and trust each other.

“We never stop training to improve our skills and to establish stability,” said Keydeniers. “You need to have confidence in one another when you’re down range, because that’s all we have when we’re there.”

The 2nd Medical Battalion provides medical support to II Marine Expeditionary Force during combat operations, and is prepared to deploy on short notice.

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