USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- To prepare for the possibility of treating Haitian earthquake survivors, medical professionals aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) conducted a mass casualty drill Jan. 17.
"Today we put together a mass casualty drill to train up the new (fleet surgical team (FST)) and (ship's) medical team, stretcher bearers and masters-at-arms," said Cmdr. Melanie Merrick, senior medical officer aboard Bataan.
"We don't know what we'll receive from the beach; it could be a variety of things from trauma to just providing humanitarian aid," said Cmdr. William Wallace, FST 8 officer-in-charge. "As the mission continues to develop, we have to be ready for any possibility. Injuries can happen, and we need to be ready."
During the two-hour drill, the teams worked together to handle roughly eight casualties, whose injuries range from leg and face traumas to third-degree burns.
"The major objective of this training is to help integrate the fleet surgical team with the ship's medical department," said Wallace. "Our FST is new to Bataan, and we need to see how Bataan does business and match up what we know and exchange knowledge. We can teach them some things; they can teach us some things, and it's just good training for our corpsmen."
The medical department has four operating rooms, a blood bank, a medical lab and a pharmacy. The ship's at-sea medical facilities are second only to USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) and USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
Bataan, USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) deployed to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in order to provide military support capabilities to civil authorities and to help stabilize and improve the situation in the wake of this disaster.
For more news from USS Bataan (LHD 5), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd5/.