Military medical personnel complete practical application seminar in Cambodia

by Cpl. Terry Brady, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office
U.S. Marine Corps

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- U.S. Navy medical personnel participated in a practical application seminar with their Cambodia military counterparts during a subject-matter expert exchange March 20 as part of Cambodia Medical Exercise 14-1 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The seminar focused on first aid and triage procedures during natural disaster relief operations, with a hands-on portion demonstrating the use of U.S. military field medical equipment.

“Basically, everything we talked about today is based around what the Cambodia military would see and use if unexploded ordnance were to wash ashore from severe flooding,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Bradley A. Beckman, a corpsman with 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It is essentially emergency preparedness, and it helps further (assist) them in humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts.”

During the seminar, the medical professionals furthered their knowledge of combat lifesaver skills, tactical combat casualty care and first-responder procedures.

“We gave the participants an opportunity to learn more about tourniquet application, needle decompression, applying combat gauzes, and (various) ways (these skills) can apply to those in need,” said Beckman. “The importance of these is hemorrhage (blood loss) and airway control for victims.”

Participants from Cambodia learned about medical equipment used by U.S. military medical professionals, according to Cambodia Chief Warrant Officer Chhang Pagnavuth, a doctor with Emergency Intensive Care Unit, Royal Gendarmerie Military Hospital.

“The U.S. has a lot of medical equipment and has shown what we may need or what we can use in a disaster event,” said Pagnavuth. “The seminar is the best way for us to gain experience with the U.S. Navy.”

With some of the seminar attendees having limited previous experience with the equipment or techniques, they learned how to correctly use them, which is needed in both medical facilities and field environments, according to Beckman.

“They (may not) have access to all of the things that were displayed today,” said Beckman. “It is important they are prepared … to improvise in these situations.”

The participants finished the training with a better understanding of how they would use the equipment in a disaster scenario, according to Pagnavuth.

“At the hospital, you have medical facilities available, but we were not sure about how we would have them in the field,” said Pagnavuth. “After today I know. Today was a good experience.”

The participants enjoyed the seminar, which provided new opportunities to learn about medical techniques and equipment that both nations would use in the event of a bilateral response to a real-world humanitarian assistance and disaster relief crisis, according to Cambodian Army Col. Mey Thun Nara, pharmacist and deputy director of the Cambodia Ministry of Health.

“I enjoyed the seminar a lot,” said Nara. “It’s an experience that I have never had before. We had equipment that we never used, but now that we’ve seen it, we know how to use it.”

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