March 31, 2003 at 9:51 PM CST - Updated June 19 at 8:51 PM
Heartland Medics in Training By: Wendy Ray
A group of Heartland doctors and nurses is in Miami, Florida, but it's not vacation. They're part of the 936th U.S. Army Reserve forward surgical team. The surgical team is receiving advanced, hands on clinical training, before its frontline deployment to Iraq. Each member of the team not only gets invaluable training, but also feedback, that will help them save the lives and care for U.S. soldiers. It's the last, most intense training they'll receive before heading for the front lines.
The emergency room in a Miami hospital has turned into a training ground for Army medics and nurses, learning how to heal and save lives in battle. Captain Dan Canestrini, with the 936th forward surgical team says, "The training down here at the trauma center has been the best training I've had in the Army Reserves." Captain Canestrini is from Paducah. He's a nurse anesthetist with the 936th forward surgical team. He says, "Sixty percent of the medical force in the United States Army comes from reserve forces. It makes sense. You've got a person who's doing that job in the civilian life is going to be doing that same job in the military situation so they're getting training everyday."
Army reserve forward surgical teams like this one, made up of men and women from Kentucky and Illinois, are highly mobile units that stabilize combat injuries on the battlefield. Miami's high pace trauma center gives them a realistic setting for treating combat-like trauma injuries . The 20-member teams take over the hospital's trauma area, take care of patients, and then are evaluated by trainers.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Southern, a doctor and surgeon on the forward surgical team says, "In a fast team, which is what we are, a forward surgical team, we are going to be responsible for the primary resuscitation of actutely injured soldiers or civilians. We, as orthopedic surgeons, may be called upon to do things that we would not normally do in our civilian practices. This probably prepares us better than any other training in the classroom could do, they do have classrooms, which is a good review, but you can actually go into things in a hands on situation."
We don't know when the 936th is leaving for Iraq. For more information on what they do, click on these links.