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Medical personnel with Alpha Surgical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), treat a simulated patient inside a Mobile Trauma Bay at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, April 27. An MTB is an armored container on top of a Logistics Vehicle System Replacement, consisting of one doctor, one nurse and three corpsmen, that brings medical treatment closer to the battlefield.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

Mobile Trauma Bay Brings Medical Care Closer to Battlefield

1 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

A group of medical professionals can treat wounded troops on the battlefield even faster than before.

A Mobile Trauma Bay is an armored container on a Logistics Vehicle System Replacement consisting of state-of-the-art medical equipment and one doctor, a nurse and three corpsmen. It can travel closer to the battlefield in order to provide immediate medical treatment to injured troops on-site. The LVSR is the Marine Corps' vehicle system capable of transporting bulk cargo.

The MTB provides flexibility and mobility to position emergency trauma teams to treat critically-injured service members within the "Golden Hour" – the first hour after a traumatic injury – increasing the patient's chances of survival.

"The Mobile Trauma Bay is an adjunct to the Shock Trauma Platoon," said Navy Capt. Donald R. Sallee, officer in charge of the Shock Trauma Platoon, Alpha Surgical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).

The Shock Trauma Platoon is a two-tent "mobile emergency room" that consists of two emergency room doctors, two nurses, four Marines and 10 corpsmen. The STP can treat patients quickly, but without the benefit of added vehicle armor, the threat of enemy fire precludes them from traveling directly into the combat zone. That's where the Mobile Trauma Bay comes in.

"It gives us the capability to take emergency medical care farther forward," said Sallee. "The MTB is essentially an armored box that has equipment that is comparable to a Shock Trauma Platoon."

The MTB was designed to support five patients, including three critically-injured and two less injured, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Pena, aviation physiology technician with Alpha Surgical Co. Its primary mission is to get closer to the battlefield than a STP, in order to be the initial care provider for patients before evacuating them to a higher level of care facility.

"The reason they push us so far forward is so that we can treat those patients who are in need of medical care and may not survive until a higher level of care without treatment," said Sallee, 46, from Cincinnati, Ohio.

An MTB is more mobile and is able to treat patients quicker than an STP, which requires an hour to set up the two tents and unpack medical supplies, explained Sallee.

"You definitely want STP care capability as close to the fight as possible, that's where the injuries are happening," said Pena, 26, from Munford, Tenn. "Being a prior line corpsman, I understand what the capabilities are for them. I understand that they don't have enough equipment to treat all kinds of combat injuries; we do. So the closer we can get this vehicle to the fight, the better."

By having the MTB so close to the battlefield, the doctors, nurses and corpsmen who go out with the Mobile Trauma Bay can provide injured troops the immediate medical care they need quickly, saving precious time and lives in the process.


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