AT SEA (NNS) -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) conducted a mass casualty drill in preparation to support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts in Haiti, Oct. 7.
"The purpose of the drill is two-fold because it fulfills a training requirement for the command and it also gave us an opportunity to determine how well we function as a unit with the Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4 personnel on board." said Lt. Benjamin Goldenberg, senior medical officer aboard Mesa Verde.
The Fleet Surgical Team includes a surgeon, two family medicine doctors, two nurses, mental health professionals and 10 enlisted personnel who are responsible for continuous patient care during medical evacuations and prior to reaching a higher echelon of medical care on shore.
"Working together helped give us a good idea of the type of care we expect to give once we arrive in Haiti and our how efficiently our triage and operating room will run once we begin receiving patients." said Lt. Meghan Ward, a family medicine doctor with FST 4.
Medical personnel treated 12 personnel with a variety of injuries including minor lacerations, concussions and compound fractures during the drill. Personnel also practiced using the battle dressing station to track injured personnel as they entered the triage area.
The medical department on board Mesa Verde is equipped with a main operating room, intensive care unit, and an X-ray lab. The ship's medical facilities are also capable of treating up to 30 patients at a time.
The ship also has what they call a walking blood bank. Sailors volunteer to come give blood in the event of a mass casualty scenario or when blood is needed.
"Every aspect of treatment from triage to surgical procedures were discussed while we conducted the training," said Goldenberg. "I think it really puts everyone into the mindset to give the best medical care possible when we reach Haiti."