Saturday, March 5, 2011

Catching up

For all the people whom read this blog. I am sorry I have not written in a while. The reason for this is because I have been working in secured areas.

After the course, I returned back to the Nahal Unit. There, I was told that I would be working in the Tara'gad. The Tara'gad is the clinic found on the boarder, which soldiers can go to when they are sick or when then need to. We also go out on different missions as a medical emergency team if needed. The Tara'gad is made up of medics, paramedics and doctors. However, not all my time was spent in the Tara'gad. I also went out to different areas as the main medic on site. Such trips included a driver’s course, where I was the main medical person for 10 drivers. Another example was at training exercises, where I was again the main medic on site. While most of my time was spent watching the exercises or enjoy the view from the back seat of the jeep, I also got to put my training to the test and help soldiers whom got injured.

However, all that now has changed. I am no longer in the Tara'gad. I am now the main medical person for the new trainees. My job now will be to schedule appointments for the soldiers. Look after the health and also to deal with any problems that arise during their training. Besides doing something I know I’m going to love, I will also be getting an interesting experience because now I will get to look at training from the other side. Last time I was back on this base, I was just starting the army and didn't know what to do. Now however, I am also a year and a half in the army and I get to see how the commanders and staff work. I hope that I get to be the mentor to the kids, that my commanders and Hopel (Hopel = Hovesh plugati or company medic. It is also my new job title) was to me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finishing up Medics Course

This week was our last official week in the medic’s course.

While most of our time was spent returning our gear and signing off on a few paper work issues, we did have a very big tests.

The first test was the misdar Mamag (the Mamag is in charge of all the medics’ course in Bad 10. (Bad 10 is the army's Medical Training School.)) he knows everything there is about medics and our course (including the tiny details that one might forget very easily when looking at the big picture. In his misdar, he could ask us anything he wants (including the tiny details which one might forget when looking at the big picture) or have us perform any number of tasks that we have learned in the course. Thankfully we all passed this and with his approval graduated the course.

Once we finished the Misdar, everything became a lot easier. We started relaxing and having fun with our commanders.

On the last night, we broke distance with our commanders. When someone breaks distance it means that we finally get to see them as real people and not our commanders. We get to know their real names, where they come from and a lot more personal information about them. We also get to joke around with them, making impressions and remembering all the funny stuff that happened in class.

Then on Wednesday, we finally finished the course for good. After a brief tekes (ceremony), where we were each awarded pins, we were allowed to go home and leave Bad 10 for the last time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Years Finishing off and PHTLS

Last week we had a quite week. We went on a trip to Jerusalem, to visit Yad Va'shem and had a talk with a man whom was a former medic. We also spent the week reviewing for our final tests. WE had a nice New Years on base and enjoyed the final Shabbat we would be spending together as a group.

Then, this week was our last unofficial week in Course Hovshem (Medics).

To start the week off, on Sunday we brushed up on all of our skills (such as opening up a vein at night, attaching a line and tying it down, and surgical operations.)

On Monday we started our O.S.C.E. An OSCE is a final practical test, where we must show to our commanders that we can live up to the standard that we were taught. For example, in our surgery OSCE, we must show our commanders that we know how to tie down an intubation tube to a person, without it falling out. Another example was during our CPR OSCE, we had to show our commanders that we know how to perform CPR correctly and that if needed, we could perform the task at hand.

On Tuesday we had our final test on all sort of trauma a person can go through. The test included trauma to the chest, stomach, head, broken bones and other trauma incidents that we can find in our "new" line of work.

Then on Wednesday and Thursday, we had a PHTLS (Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support). This is a brand new course that was started a few months ago. The course is meant to teach us how to respond to incidents, in more of a civilian background. For example, we learned how to treat people who have suffered a car crash and other civilian accidents. The purpose of the course was to teach us how to look at things through the eyes of a regular EMT, instead of an army medic. While the differences are small, they are a few changes that we had to learn. For example, back boarding and morphine have two different criteria for when we apply it or when we put someone on a backboard.

While the course was hard (12 hours a day of strait learning and very short breaks) it was a lot of fun and interesting to see the differences between the military medics and a regular EMT.

As a bonus for completing the course (and hopefully passing) I will receive a certificate which is good for everywhere in the world. It will also let me work as a medic and apply for a job as an EMT back home in the states.

This week, will be our last technical week. While we will not be doing much, it will be sad to see people go back to their units. However as in most times in life, while one door is closing, another will reopen up soon I hope.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Traffic control and Doctors

This week was mass casualties week. Instead of working with one injury or multiple injuries by ourselves, we learned how to work in teams (2 medics, radio man and a doctor) to treat multiple injuries in the field. The way it works is that first: all the injured people got into a semicircle. The medics would then split up, one staying with the doctor and going to one side, and the other medic would start at the other side. Together they would stop any big wound that would cause the injured to die from blood loss. Then the doctor would tell the radio man who had what injury and who would have to be worked on first. The radio man would then call into the central command and tell them about the injuries and that help was needed to evac the injured.

While the radio man was doing that, the doctor and the medics would start surgery on the injured. The whole process takes maybe 20-30 min and you can have more than one team working at once. The rules that come into play, when there is more than one team are that the first one on the scene is the ones in charge. By the end of the week, we were doing training exercise with four teams. That means 4 doctors, 4 radio men and 8-12 medics on one scene with 10 injuries.

Another thing we did this week was be traffic officers. This week was the 10th anniversary of the Harap. The Harap is the army medical clinic. Each course had to send 4-5 people to go and either be security or traffic control and help people park their cars. It was a very nice ceremony and by being there, I got a chance to meet many high up officials who are in charge of the medical branch in the army. Also, there were demonstrations of all the new medical technique that are going on in the country.

Finally, the last thing we did before we got to leave this week was opening up multiple veins on one person. Up until now, we have only opened up one vain per person. On Thursday however, we got a chance to open up 3 veins on one person.

Some other high lights for the week:

It finally rained here in Israel. It even hailed in some areas :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Surgery week

This week we continued to learn about the different surgeries we were allowed to help in. The first one we learned was a simple intubation. An intubation is when we insert a long tube down someone’s throat to help them breath. The surgery is not hard and in fact does not even including cutting someone open.

The next surgery we learned about was a Cricoidotomy. This is a more sever intubation, where a small incision is made in the neck, between the thyroid gland and the Cricoid. The surgery is not long, only supposed to last 6-7 min.

The final surgery we learned was how to put in a chest tube. This is done when someone has a Pneumothorax and therefore their lung is either not inflated or something has gotten into the pleura membrane and is squeezing the lung. The Surgery is the most complicated one we have learned so far and is the most successful one of all.

Some other things we did this week:

A training exercise on someone who has had a heat stroke.

A test in pharmacology (where we are test on what drugs to give, what is inside the drug and why do you give that drug)

A class on poisonous animals

Next week will be a more physical week where we start mass casualties.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Midterms and guarding

The past two weeks have been a combination of mid-terms and guarding.

When we first got to the base on Sunday, we started studying for our midterms as well as start a new lesson topic on surgery. In case there is a war, doctors throughout the country are called up to go into the field and set up a field hospital (called in Hebrew Tzevet 10 or team 10.) Because the doctors come from many different specialty fields (skin, heart, lungs, brain, etc.) they might not remember how to do a basic surgery. This is where we come in, as helpful reminders walking them through the process. For example, we are taught how to perform a tracheotomy (however, we are not allowed to perform the surgery alone) in order to help a doctor whom might have forgotten how to do one.

We also spent the week doing triage exercises. Instead of us working in groups of three (where one guy is the medic, one is the injured and one is the checker), we worked in groups of five, where three people were the injured, one was the medic and one was the checker. The exercise was hard because there is so much you need to keep in mind and you usually get confused between what to do to whom when.

This training and learning class took us through Tuesday. Then that night, the commanders told us to go straight to bed and not worry about the midterms the following day because sleep was more important. Of course no one listened and we all stayed up till 12 learning. By the time I was done with my shower and made my bed, it was already 1 in the morning. Then at 1:15 (I looked at my watch because I thought that I had slept for a while) we had an "attack." All the commanders walked into our sleeping area and told us that we had 7 min. to get dressed, with our gear and our guns and follow them to an attack site that just took place. We all got dressed quickly and we eager to start. The commanders then lead us to a well light place and told us welcome to mid-terms. We all took terms trading positions as medic, checker and victim. Of course the commanders were overlooking us and grading us as we went along. The scenarios that took place ranged from a regular victim with a bullet wound, to a soldier on guard duty who was attacked with a white phosphorus grenade, to a guy who is suffering from hypothermia. The training went till 4:15 in the morning. Then the commanders told us to go to sleep till 12, where we finished the mid-term with a written test. Luckily I passed with flying colors.

Then next week and a half was spent doing guard duty. Like all my other guard duty times, the time went by fast but was very uneventful. The shifts were tough (2 hours guarding, 2 hours on the readiness team and 2 hours to our self.) The only exception to this was:

On Saturday night I was coming off a guard shift at 11 at night (the shift started at 9). We then went to the readiness team room to sleep a little before our next shift. While we were there sleeping (not long, only maybe 20-30min) there was an attack on the base. This time however was not a drill.

What happened was that four soldiers had gone out for the weekend (when they were supposed to close for the weekend) and came back to base in civilian clothing. The problem was not that they had left but that they decided to enter through a hole in the fence. The guys on patrol saw the guys and told them to stop. Once they ran, the patrol called us (the readiness team) and we went into action. We sent the next 3 hours closing down the base and putting everyone in a room. We then did a room to room search looking for the soldiers. Of course, we were told that they were four civilians and we didn’t know they were soldiers. At around 4 in the morning, we called the patrol into the room, where everyone was, to see if the intruders were there. It turns out that not only were they in the room, but they had changed back into uniform and acted as if nothing was going on. After the people were caught, instead of going to bed, I went straight to another shift and ended up pulling a 16hour shift with only that 20-30min sleep the night before.

As I’m sure you can tell, this weekend has been nothing but a sleep-in weekend, where I’ve been catching up on sleep the whole time. On top of that, I have been also monitoring my phone in case we get a call up to go help out in Haifa, with the fire. Please keep all the victims in mind this week, as we (Israel) continues to battle the blaze and stop the fire.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Combat Medic course week 4

The weeks have finally become easier in the medic courses. Now, instead sitting in classes for 8 hours a day, we have started to do more "hands on work."

For example, this week, we learned how to open up an IV in the middle of the night. The difference is that in the morning you can see the vein, while at night we need to feel it. Also, during the day we can tell if we’ve entered a vein or not, with the help of a cup at the back of the needle. If we entered a vein, the cup will fill with blood. However at night, we can’t see the cup so instead we open up the cover for it and feel the blood.

The other thing we learned this week was how to give injections. Since we might have to administer medication to a patient, we need to learn how to give injections and where on the body they go.

The class went something like this:

First the commander told us where and how much liquid to give. Then we prepared our injections with Saline fluid. Then we took turns injecting our partners, first in the arms and then in the butts.

Finally, our commander taught us how to give an injection in the leg. As we got into our groups again to practice this, our commander said to stop what we were doing and to make a circle. He then dropped his pants and proceeded to inject himself. Then, with the injection still in him preceded to explain to us that for this injection we were going to do Ma'agal Lachas (pressure circle).

The way it works is that we all stand in a circle and one at a time injects ourselves in the leg. The only way to remove the needle is for the last person to inject himself. Once the last person is done with the injection, the first person can take out the needle. (This is considered the hazing of the medical corps in the army. Instead of doing weird things to pledge to join this frat, everyone must do this circle game.)

Once we were all done injecting ourselves, the commander said: "ok, now leave it in, while I go take care of something."

The pictured look something like this:

20 soldiers, with their pants down and a needle sticking out of their leg, with questionable looks on their face as to how long will we have to leave this in.

Thankfully the commander came back after a few min and we proceeded to take out the needle one at a time. I was the third on in the circle so while I had to stick it in sooner, I also got to take it out sooner.

The other things we did this week were:

1) Had a total of 3 tests on different things

2) Have different training exercises. (The one where we split up into groups of three. When it was my turn to be the medic, I had 45 seconds to insert an IV. I passed with only 10 seconds left :)

3) We continued to learn about different problems people can have depending on the weather

In other news:

I want to congratulate my cousin, Olivia (from the The Curious Jew) on her wedding to her new husband :)