It is almost as if one walked into a scene from M*A*S*H, however, instead of a Korean War setting, Soldiers cared for patients from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Operation Black Bear, an exercise conducted by the 47th Combat Support Hospital, allowed Soldiers to operate out of their 44-bed Early Entry Hospital Element Sept. 16 to 20.
Compared to a full capacity 284-bed CSH, the EEHE is smaller in size and can deploy and operate as a self-contained unit. If the force needed additional hospital assets, medical commanders and planners could deploy the remaining hospital augmentation elements.
During the exercise, the 62nd Med. Bde. routed sick-call patients from their Troop Medical Clinic to the EEHE for routine treatments of coughs, colds, sprains and other minor injuries.
The staff assessed the condition of incoming patients, provided medical treatment and if needed, transferred the patient to appropriate areas of the hospital.
We dont get to do this every day, said Spc. Marcial Dino, radiology specialist, B Company. When working in a field environment it brings reality to the fact that you are not going to have as much space to maneuver around and you really have to assert yourself when making the patient a priority in chaos.
Also working in the EEHE and attached to the combat support hospital was the 250th Medical Detachment (Forward Surgical Team). Patients volunteered for surgeries to be performed by the FST to provide vital training for surgeons, nurses and medics. Doctors completed seven operations during the exercise.