Simulator Moves Surgery Closer to Battlefield

Dobbins ARB, Ga. As recently as the first Gulf war, US service members died of wounds received in combat at a rate of 24 percent. In the past five years, that rate has dropped to 2 percent, said Lt. Col. Chad Corliss, deputy commander of the 94th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron here. One of the most important reasons for this decline, says Corliss, is “we’ve moved surgical care very far forward” toward the field. Currently, “ghost team” surgery one airlift away from the battlefield is the best military medics can do, but a new aeromedical training system installed at the 94th AES in January may help his unit do much better. CAE’s Aeromedical Evacuation Training System (AETS) is a 12-ton lifelike recreation of a C-130 fuselage outfitted for aeromedical evacuation missions. The 94th AES has already trained 10 teams on the ground using AETS, and once the system reaches full operational capability, he expects to train 1,200 nurses and medical technicians per year. In January, CAE is also scheduled to deliver a motion platform for AETS that will allow medical personnel to practice patient care in the midst of simulated flight. Corliss says that medical training in this realistic environment may lead to the ability to perform surgery in-flight, saving more lives of personnel wounded on the battlefield by moving medical care another large step forward. “We want zero percent [of wounded personnel to die] of wounds,” Corliss said.