Medical Officials hold first Mass Casualty Conference
By Cpl. Vanessa Jimenez
| | February 18, 2013
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Kingdom of Thailand --
Medical personnel from local Thai hospitals and military medical professionals from the Royal Thai Air Force and the U.S. Navy participated in a mass casualty plan conference Feb. 16 at Wing One Royal Thai Air Force Base, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kingdom of Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold 2013.
The conference allowed subject matter experts to exchange best practices and enhance collective efforts to improve planning, processes and communication for mass casualty events between hospitals.
“We were given the opportunity to hold a conference about preparation for mass casualties between hospitals around Korat and Bangkok, and it has been a good opportunity to exchange information about disaster preparation to better prepare for the future,” said RTAF Wing Cmdr. Oranut Chulajata, Wing One hospital director. “We also had the opportunity to see some U.S. aircraft and their patient transportation abilities.”
In addition to the conference, participants were introduced to an MV-22B Osprey and a K-C130J Hercules static display. Information on the transport of casualty abilities for both aircraft were presented during the static display, and participants were able to learn about the physical characteristics and the other capabilities of the aircraft.
“We’re demonstrating the different variations of set up between having passengers, beds or cargo, and they’re also are showing—if they maxed it out—what kind of capacity the aircraft has,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Allen Chang, the flight surgeon with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152. “We’re also demonstrating if there were hospital staff, where they would be working and how it would be laid out.”
The conference addressed emergency medical service requirements and planning for disasters such as flooding, tsunamis, and earthquakes and also opened the floor to questions between participating personnel about each hospital’s mass casualty plan.
“We’re demonstrating the U.S.’ ability to respond to national-level disasters in addition to our ability to respond to local mass casualty events,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Derby, the group surgeon with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Really what’s more important to us is facilitating communications between the nations’ hospital systems. They have state systems, a military system and a private system so bringing them all together is an incredible thing.”
The conference was collaboratively planned by RTAF, the U.S. military, and local hospitals to enhance regional relationships and open the lines of communication to help share more information.
“Cobra Gold comes to Korat every year, and while we don’t have to share medical experience or information, I think it’s important that we do,” said Chulajata. “This is the first time we’ve done this, and we plan to have this activity every year. This has been a great experience.”
In its 32nd iteration, exercise Cobra Gold is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crises by exercising a robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.