QUICK RESPONSE: RAAF health personnel carry a foreign national whose daughter has a broken leg to an ambulance in the course’s scenario.
QUICK RESPONSE: RAAF health personnel carry a foreign national whose daughter has a broken leg to an ambulance in the course’s scenario. Rob Williams

RAAF trains for real-life medical emergencies

THE scenario could have been ripped from today's news - a medical emergency on an isolated island off the coast of Australia.

The Health Operational Conversion Unit (HOCA) is conducting a five-day course for RAAF health personnel at the Amberley air base.

The course focuses on the most efficient ways to set up emergency field hospitals and preparing patients for evacuation flights.

In the real world, it would be set up next to an airfield and if a soldier had been shot, they would be prepared to be flown out.

It's part of the Golden Hour - the hour after traumatic injury when medical treatment to optimise the chance of survival is most effective.

HOCA commanding officer, Wing Commander Michael Penman, said the scenario could happen anywhere in our region.

RAAF personnel treat a mock patient inside the emergency field resuscitation tent.
RAAF personnel treat a mock patient inside the emergency field resuscitation tent. Rob Williams

Course instructor, Flight Lieutenant Leigh Molloy, said the course was about being as realistic as possible.

"We have a scenario where we have deployed to an island called Netana - they're actually named after previous instructors - and we've rolled in here and we're about to start what would be an evacuation handling centre," Flight Lieutenant Molloy said.

"We're the medical support for an evacuation handling centre. So we're evacuating Australian nationals and approved foreign nationals out of that country due to civil unrest.

"We have taken all our fully qualified staff - anyone who works in the health environment - and we are trying to teach them how to work in an airfield environment; how to set up a hospital inside an air base.

"The purpose here is to get them used to their kit, used to putting up tents and also how to work in an austere environment.

"For most of these guys, when they do their training they work in a hospital so everything is on tap; whereas with most of the places we go, you're looking at least a 12 hour wait for your aeromedical evacuation team to arrive."



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