LC — Christmas Day

A medical officer (CPT) is in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.  It is Christmas Day and he and his Soldiers had just finished enjoying their holiday meal and prepping to bed down for the night when a medevac call comes in from an outpost.  Both ground and air evac assets are available and the outpost is only a five-minute drive by ground.  Air evac is much faster but it is unclear whether the aircraft can land or not due to the outpost still being under fire.  The CPT must decide to evacuate the casualty by ground or air…the TOC eagerly awaits his decision.

Topics covered:

  • Decision making

  • Casualty/med evacuation

  • Planning

  • Guilt

What’s the Situation?

  • You are a Medical Service Corps officer, serving as a battalion medical officer in an infantry battalion. You are deployed in a Forward Operating Base with soldiers at combat outposts.
  • It is Christmas Day; the unit is on stand-down celebrating the holiday. You’ve just gotten done with the traditional holiday meal.
  • One of your NCOs informs you that a soldier has been wounded and requires evacuation.
  • Both ground and air evacuation assets are available. The outpost is a five minute drive by vehicle, significantly shorter flight time via air.
  • The outpost is still under fire. It is unclear to you if the aircraft can land or not.
  • If you spend time trying to get the aircraft to land and then opt for ground ambulance, it may impact the casualty’s chance of survival. If you run the casualty in a ground ambulance over rough roads, it may impact the casualty’s chance of survival. If you delay evacuation assets to gather more information, it may impact the casualty’s chance of survival.
  • You must decide whether to evacuate the casualty by ground or air. The TOC is waiting for a decision from you; you are the only one with the authority to decide.

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