Navy members of a Marine Corps Battalion Aid Station in Southwest Afghanistan are the inaugural recipients of the U.S. Central Command Joint Theater Trauma System Ditch Medicine Award. Photo by Steven Galvan
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
2 OCT 2013
A U.S. Navy general medical officer and the medical director for a team of Corpsmen assigned to a Battalion Aid Station (BAS) on a Marine Corps outpost in Southwest Afghanistan is the recipient of the inaugural U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Joint Theater Trauma System (JTTS) Ditch Medicine Award. Lt. (Dr.) Hans Hulsebos, battalion surgeon, accepted the award from JTTS Director Col. (Dr.) Jeffrey Bailey and JTTS Pre-Hospital Director Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jim Geracci September 11th.
“This award means a lot for my guys and me,” said Hulsebos. “We trained very hard on the way out here. We were able to identify our top guys who did an outstanding job.”
“We traveled to the outpost to present him with this award because of the excellence and effort that is so apparent in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care After Action Reports (TCCC AARs) he has been sending to our JTTS team,” said Bailey who is deployed from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Joint Trauma System (JTS) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas to head the JTTS in Afghanistan.
Bailey explained that the TCCC AAR is the means for pre-hospital providers to record their combat casualty evaluation, management and observation in detail after they have treated and transported an injured warrior from the point of injury. The information is then transferred into the Pre-Hospital Trauma Registry developed at the JTS and stood up in August of this year.
“Our expert team [at the JTS] developed the PHTR as our newest system-wide acquisition resource specifically designed to capture data from the point of injury,” said Bailey.
Bailey added that Geracci has been collecting critical information contained in the TCCC AARs into the PHTR.
“The robust data that has already begun to accumulate demonstrates the work that is being done to save the lives in the field and no doubt will reveal heretofore unrecognized performance improvement opportunities and insights,” stated Bailey. “The PHTR provides a new and powerful ability to develop, review and monitor best-evidence based guidelines for care at the point of injury where we have the most potential to save lives.”
Bailey hopes to eventually integrate the PHTR and two other theater databases and the Department of Defense Trauma Registry to develop a comprehensive combat casualty care registry that will deliver a means to ensure the best possible opportunity for survival and functional recovery to wounded warriors. For now he is pleased with data that is being collected from teams at BASs in theater.
“Operationalizing this registry also revealed the great work that Lieutenant Hulsebos and his team are doing and motivated us to develop a means to recognize excellence in the pre-hospital setting in the form of the Ditch Medic Award,” he said. “Thanks to his team and all those like them for their excellence in the care of the wounded rendered under the most austere conditions on the most far flung outposts and the most dangerous ditches on the globe.”
“We spent a lot of tireless days and nights providing care for some very bad injuries,” said Hulsebos. “We got a lot of recognition from our battalion commander and shock trauma platoon, as well as from Role III [combat support hospital]. It can get really hard to continuously see patients who come in at their worst and never seeing them improve, but getting this kind of recognition really helped us understand that we are doing something good out here.”