USS SIROCCO, At Sea (NNS) -- Medical personnel assigned to patrol craft USS Sirocco (PC 6) responded to a medical emergency on board Maltese-flagged motor vessel Lucky Trader in the northern Arabian Gulf Sept. 1.
At approximately 12 p.m. local time, M/V Lucky Trader called for medical assistance for one of their crew members who had severed a finger and suffered deep lacerations to his hand in a line-handling accident earlier in the day.
Once Sirocco arrived on scene, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Christopher Robinson, Interior Communications Technician 1st Class Michael Klebak and Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Alan Bitokhov were transported by rigid hull inflatable boat to M/V Lucky Trader, where they treated the mariner.
Assisted by Klebak and Bitokhov, Robinson administered first aid and applied a tourniquet to the wound.
"In the past, I've always had the safety net of a medical officer or senior corpsman," said Robinson. "Today I felt like I was on a tight rope without a net, but I knew I needed to help him and quickly."
Fearing the tourniquet would ultimately result in the loss of the crew member's hand, Robinson made the decision to loosen it periodically over the next four hours, allowing enough blood to flow to the appendage, but not enough to cause serious blood loss.
The three Sailors continued to treat and monitor the individual until he was able to be transferred to a Kuwait Coast Guard vessel and ultimately transferred to a Kuwaiti hospital.
Sirocco Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Matt Lehmann recognized the professional demeanor of his Sailors and the team effort involved in the situation.
"From the corpsman who attended to the patient, to his assistants who kept their cool as they helped tend to the patient, to the engineers who got us on scene quickly and to the Kuwaiti Coast Guard who responded quickly, it was truly a team effort and one that hopefully saved not only the man's hand but also his life," said Lehmann. "Today was truly an eye-opening day for Sirocco, the PC community and all those involved."
Sirocco is in its third month of a routine deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.