TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.— David Grant USAF Medical Center conducted a mass casualty exercise here May 17, 2022, using military emergency medicine residents from the DGMC and University of California Davis Integrated Emergency Medicine Residency Program as the primary emergency responders.
Augmented by a team of pararescuemen from the 131st Rescue Squadron, an HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter from the 129th Rescue Wing dropped off the crews of emergency medicine residents and pararescuemen to a chaotic scene of simulated casualties that needed immediate medical attention.
“The significance of the training was to provide our military emergency medicine residents with a glimpse into the en route patient staging system from the point of injury to transport by the Critical Care Air Transport Team,” said Lt. Col. Roderick Fontenette, the 60th Medical Group military associate program director for the DGMC and UC Davis residency program. “It provided them an opportunity to work with others within this system to gain a better appreciation of the cross-organizational teamwork required to move patients.”
To make the training more realistic, a group of civilian residents from the residency program at UC Davis Medical Center volunteered to be simulated casualties and observe their military co-residents react to the scenario.
“There is a lot more pressure on our Air Force colleagues. They have to know everything because they have to be everything and everyone at any given time,” said Dr. Clelia Clark, a resident doctor of the residency program. “It's incredible to see them work today and get put through their paces. It was awesome.”
Fontenette said the MASCAL exercise was meant to hone and sharpen their critical care skills in conjunction with their academic learning through UC Davis upon completing the 3-year residency program.
“Upon graduation, they are well-prepared and trained to care for patients in any environment and setting, thanks to their training at UC Davis Hospital,” Fontenette said.
Fontenette added the importance of incorporating this kind of training during their academic years.
“Exposing military residents to this type of training early in their academic career gives them a better sense of opportunities that await them on active duty,” he said. “It familiarizes them with topics unique to military medicine and provides them with a much clearer picture of the mission and the en route care platform.”