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 Life of a 68W, or: How I learned to love the balm 
 

IronWarrior

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      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 02:56 Profile United Kingdom


So when medics are with squads in Iraq or Afgan and come under fire or are attacking, what does the medic do?

Do they fire back, do they sit on their arses and wait till it's over?

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LTNuk3m

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      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 03:33 Profile


From what I've read here and elsewhere (And please, Doc, correct me if I'm wrong), the medic would be legally allowed to fire back in defense of himself; he cannot be sure if those folks on the other end of the weapons firing at him know he's a medic, or even if they care.

[Dev]Doc

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Joined: 09 Aug 2010

      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 14:26 Profile United States


it's a sticky ethical situation, for sure. The best answer is that the medic is supposed to be kept out of direct harm's way (in the truck/MRAP/Etc) so that he isn't being put into a defensive posture on purpose. In the event of an ambush, he likely doesn't have access to weapons systems with which to be effective.

It gets into more grey area when, say, the gunner on the medic's truck goes down and the ambush is ongoing. At some point it's conceivable that the medic will have to get on the gun and fire back, since it's the only way he'll be safe to treat his patients. If opfor are trying to drag an injured soldier away, it is absolutely the medic's duty to intervene - if he has to run them down with a rock in his hand, he intervenes on behalf of his patient. The current conflict is a bit of a strange beast in regard to geneva conventions, as you guys have pointed out - current combatants, by and large, have no regard for geneva conventions or rules of engagement (to wit, they kill more of their own than us. On purpose - non-collateral damage), So things DO get muddied, but the bottom line is that, when you're tasked with bringing your 40-man platoon home in as few pieces as possible, you do whatever it takes.

The only thing that even influences what lengths you're willing to go to bring your brothers home is the principle you're there to defend - you do the right thing, but you don't hold back. You aren't out to kill bad guys, but god help anyone trying to harm you or your patients.

And before I start sounding like I'm over-romanticizing things, understand that there is nothing that can happen over there to anyone that hurts as much as losing one of your guys. If you're doing your job, if you've gone from soldier to medic to 'Doc', they're all your friends. Some more than others, but you've been there recommending OTC remedies when their kids've had the sniffles, you've talked with them about marrying their high school sweetheart, you've been one of the first to find out they're expecting a son. To lose one of them - to have one of the closest bonds you can imagine severed by what must be YOUR FAULT - is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with. You could've always stopped the bleeding sooner. You could've been carrying oxygen in the truck if you'd just persisted, and then maybe they'd be fine. You could've been on their truck and able to respond faster.

It's no joke. It's not a uniform, so don't take it lightly Joe2.0. It is a responsibility unlike anything else people experience in their lifetimes. Don't let hollywood make you think War is glorious, and real men are forged from violence - in the end, you just lose your innocence and your friends. That's why you train hard, that's why you get smoked and suck it up and keep getting stronger and smarter and faster, because it brings people home that would've been lost otherwise.

Sorry to get all 1000-yd stare on you guys.

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The preceding has been in no way, shape, or form a promise, an official statement, or representative in any way of the Army, the AGP, or the AA community.

LTNuk3m

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Joined: 18 Sep 2010

      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 14:57 Profile


I don't mind that sort of thing, Doc Smile I'm the kinda wierdo who reads war memoirs and watches the resultant HBO miniseries. Not necessarily in that order. I've already gone through Band of Brothers, The Pacific, and Gen Kill. Interestingly, each time I find myself concentrating on the infantry more than any other segment of the military. CURSE YOU, HEINLIEN! >_>;

*reads the above* See what I mean? Wierdo! XD

-=316=-peg_em

Staff Sergeant
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Joined: 10 Oct 2008

      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 14:59 Profile United States


Not a resposibility i would want.I guess you have to stay focused on the soldiers you have saved.

LTNuk3m

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Joined: 18 Sep 2010

      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 15:03 Profile


I won't even attempt to do anything for that but speak from the backside, since that's all I really can do for this: That may keep you going, but it won't help you sleep at night.

(Doc, if you feel that to be too (edit)foolish a sentiment, feel free to nuke it Smile )

Joe2.0

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      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 18:57 Profile United States


Doc, if it was just a uniform, I wouldn't be the slightest bit interested in becoming a hospital corpsman or combat medic of any time. I'm a sixteen year old kid sure but helping people (especially servicemen and woman abroad) is the one thing that makes sense for me to do with my life.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If ayone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18

not to get all preachy or anything but that's what I believe and because of that i am absolutly willing to be held responsible for my brothers and all those around me. thanks for your replies Doc. anything else that you think i should know about being a combat medic please share. thanks again.

[Dev]Doc

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      Posted: 18 Sep 2010 23:15 Profile United States


I hear you Joe, I just want it out there that this is a job that you should TRULY believe in before signing up for.

Anyway, let's discuss some of the less depressing stuff.

When you enter into your medic training, generally you become EMT certified - that means national certification to perform certain tasks under supervision of a physician. That means that there is a Doctor or PA that is in charge of training you, and authorizing you to perform any procedures you find the need to perform. In the army, once you're certified, you move on to a medley of miscellaneous advanced tasks, like IV's and medications (those are not things an EMT-B is generally allowed to do). The training at this stage generally has more to do with treatment in combat, with less classroom, fewer tests (if any), and more skills validation under simulated combat simulation. That means your battle buddies pretending to be wounded, a simulated patrol through the woods where things go wrong and you set up casualty collection points, triage and treat, and then moving on to a final extended exercise designed to 'put it all together'.

That last exercise is strenuous, long, sleep deprived, and dirty. You do combat training, you get simulated NBC attacks, and you run long-term simulated combat operations. It's all really good training if you stay focused on the question of "how would I fit in all of this (not everyone gets to be "the medic" here)" instead of getting stuck on "<expletive expletive> I can't deal with this any more I want a shower and some food and I'm done carrying this guy through the woods and I'm so cold GRRRARARGGGH". It's not rocket science - In fact, if the medic system in it's current design makes it in the game with it's current depth intact, I'd confidently say anyone who has mastered it could probably take the EMT-B test and pass, if not more.

For instance, have you ever seen those little red cases inside the glass cases in the mall, the airport, or virtually any major structure? Those are AEDs - Automated External Defibrillators. They work like the old paddles, shocking the heart to restart it or reset it when it's in ventricular fibrillation. Did you know that it has instructions? It takes all of three steps, it has easy to read instructions, and it tells you exactly what to do and when. It even lets you know if the patient doesn't need what the AED provides. And yet, I doubt that if someone had a heart attack in the mall that anyone without EMT/Police/Fire Dept/Military training would break one out and attempt to use it.

Do you know how to perform CPR, or why? There are courses at the colleges and rec centers, sure. I doubt many of you have the time or inclination to go. But it's not rocket science, again - being a combat medic doesn't require House-level diagnostic skill.

Should you consider yourself CPR certified after playing the game when my system is in? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But being familiar with these things should, at least, help you know when to call 911 instead of freaking out. And some training is better than nothing.

Let me get back to the whole physician in charge thing for a second - before you go off sticking OPAs into someone's throat for shallow breathing (DON'T EVER THINK THAT AN OPA IS A SENSIBLE TREATMENT OPTION FOR SHALLOW BREATHING.), understand this: People get sued every day for performing what they think is Aid when they aren't on duty with a physician in charge of them. If I went and treated someone in an accident with my first aid kit, I could (and probably would) lose my house, my car, and my credit. That wouldn't prevent me from trying, but I don't want you guys thinking you can go off practicing your AA3 medic jiggery-pokery on some unsuspecting accident victim, understand what you're doing. You're putting your faith in my training (in a video game, no less!), and do not have someone the authorities can chew out for you when you get sued.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, the secret to being a good medic -> Get to know your Doctor or PA really well. Ask him/her questions all the time. Ask for training. Ask how you should go about treating hypothetical injury X. Ask how to perform procedures that are way above your head. The Doctor or PA is the one who will provide all the advanced training - I can insert a chest tube because I begged for it and ate up every minute of what my doctor would teach. I learned suturing because I asked him to teach me and then I practiced on fruit from the chow hall. I learned medications because I volunteered to work sick call and got involved with every patient I could. I asked about every medication we had. I volunteered to manage our class VIII (medical supplies), so I knew exactly what we had and how to use it.

The conceptual framework that emerged, knowing how all this stuff worked and seeing all the patterns, was what made me the go-to medic when the other guys couldn't figure out some condition or needed help treating. I stayed up-to-date on emerging procedures, I practiced relentlessly (the floors in one of the NTC tents probably STILL has slits in it from practicing cricothyrotomy technique). If you're bored and sitting around the aid station, get another guy to let you start sticking him with an IV - go for the areas requiring more finesse, the feet, the ankles, the forearm, the hands. Officially you'll have to go for the antecubital fossa, where they draw blood at the red cross donation events - it's easiest to find and easiest to successfully stick. But you won't always get that easy treatment, and your goal isn't just run of the mill 68W - you're going 18D, there's no procedure too difficult, no diagnosis too tricky, and no combat situation too daunting.

I'm not saying I was awesome, I'm just saying that when I was on my A game it was because of the philosophy I just outlined. I messed up, and I got lazy from time to time. I didn't want to shave or get up at dawn to go running. I didn't want to do another lap around commo hill carrying some guy twice my size. But the guys that can think that way, at least when it counts, make the best medics.

This all sounds totally pretentious. Ummm...seriously, try hard. For yourself and for your guys. Start training as soon as you can and don't ever stop, because the last thing you want to do is feel like you didn't work hard enough and someone else paid the price for it.

If I were hanging out at starbucks and we started talking, Joe, I'd heartily recommend that you look into your local EMT services and see what kind of volunteer programs they have, look into CPR training, focus on anatomy&physiology in school, anything. MIT has a program called Open CourseWare, with several of their classes available online free of charge, and they might have some relevant anatomy or medical curriculum you can take. Of course, hopefully you can get something good out of the training I can get into the game as well, but there's no telling how long that'll be.

Nuke, only the obscene piles of cash that this job has me swimming in helps me sleep at night. I tiptoe down to the vault and dive in, Scrooge McDuck style. I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC AT ALL EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

Talk to you guys later, I've got a family to entertain Very Happy

mwzzhang

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Posts: 31
Joined: 30 Sep 2008

      Posted: 19 Sep 2010 13:10 Profile Canada


Hey DOC! Did you earn your Combat Medical Badge?

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[Dev]Doc

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Posts: 356
Joined: 09 Aug 2010

      Posted: 19 Sep 2010 21:31 Profile United States


mwz - yes. 2 weeks in country. We were on a happenin' stretch of highway.



Last edited by [Dev]Doc on 25 Sep 2010 02:24; edited 1 time in total
Joe2.0

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Joined: 27 Oct 2008

      Posted: 22 Sep 2010 23:10 Profile United States


Doc, one of my friends pointed out to me a couple army recruiters at school today. now i cant decide between navy hospital corpsman or army medic. out of curiousity which branch do you think i should go into?

oh and as to taking classes or first aid courses and such, im currently taking an anatomy and physiology class at my school as well as an online course through Idaho State University on history of healthcare as a prerequisite to an emt basic course. thanks once again for all the very excellent information Doc.

[Dev]Doc

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      Posted: 23 Sep 2010 00:25 Profile United States


Branch of service is a choice best left up to you.

What I'm trying to say is, don't give my opinion any weight in this decision. Map out your career. Let's say for the sake of this exercise that you are certain you want to go career and retire. Are you going to start out enlisted and climb the ranks within your specialty? Are you going to go the special ops route? Are you going to go for a commission and become an officer? Do you want to use this as a platform for medical school, eventually becoming a doctor/surgeon/researcher?

Now, with your options in front of you, see which branch offers the path you want most. That'll be the career you work hardest to succeed in. If you're stuck, flip a coin - it doesn't matter where it lands, it matters where you were HOPING it would land. Go with that. This job ain't easy on you regardless of which branch you're in, so if all you've got to keep you straight is the knowledge that you are honestly expressing yourself in life, you'll be much better off.

Talking to recruiters (from all branches, as well as non-military options would be a good idea) is an obvious choice, too. Don't worry about hurting their feelings or being pressured, either - it's an important decision and you'll probably find that they aren't nearly as bad as you'd think.

(I'm formulating the next entry in this blog-eo game. More forthcoming when I've decided what I want to talk about.)



Last edited by [Dev]Doc on 25 Sep 2010 02:28; edited 1 time in total
Phoenix

Army Project Team
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      Posted: 24 Sep 2010 13:49 Profile United States


Doc's enthusiasm is terrific and we all appreciate his recent contributions to our forums. One point of clarification though; the development of the Combat Medic for AA3 has been temporarily postponed. Instead, other Army roles will be developed and added to the game. The Combat Medic will be revisited in future evolutions of America's Army 3.

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}TVA{Bill

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      Posted: 24 Sep 2010 14:17 Profile


Phoenix wrote:

Doc's enthusiasm is terrific and we all appreciate his recent contributions to our forums. One point of clarification though; the development of the Combat Medic for AA3 has been temporarily postponed. Instead, other Army roles will be developed and added to the game. The Combat Medic will be revisited in future evolutions of America's Army 3.




Dang it Phoenix ! I was just out sharpening my IV needles and collecting spare bandages in prep for the new medic training, now what am I supposed to do? Shocked Cheesy Grin

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viking_from_norway

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      Posted: 24 Sep 2010 16:46 Profile Norway


Phoenix wrote:

Doc's enthusiasm is terrific and we all appreciate his recent contributions to our forums. One point of clarification though; the development of the Combat Medic for AA3 has been temporarily postponed. Instead, other Army roles will be developed and added to the game. The Combat Medic will be revisited in future evolutions of America's Army 3.



noooooo Crying or Very Sad the medic role would change so much gameplay, in a good way, i want to have combat medic as fast as possible. Sad

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 Life of a 68W, or: How I learned to love the balm 
 

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