FALLUJAH, Iraq --
“He’s bleeding out of a major artery! He’s going into shock! Get his pulse and apply a tourniquet, now!”
These words boomed from the mouths of Navy corpsmen with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, as they gave a four-day Combat Life Saver course to Iraqi Police at the Joint Command Center in Fallujah, Iraq, Dec. 18.
Fourteen policemen from several precincts around Fallujah attended the course, which is frequently given to service members to teach them how to render first aid in the event of medical emergencies.
“This was the first time we have taught a CLS course to a group of (Iraqi policemen), and we taught the course in a way that will allow them to go back to their stations and teach others what they have learned,” said Navy Lt. Brett M. Chamberlin, a 28-year-old medical officer from El Paso, Texas. “In this new direction that we are headed, (Iraqi policemen) have taken control of missions that we used to run, and we are working to ensure they are able to take care of the medical aspects of their jobs themselves.”
Medical personnel call the first hour after a patient has been injured the “golden hour.” Those with life-threatening injuries have a higher likelihood of surviving if they receive treatment within the first hour of the injury.
Corpsmen split the policemen into small groups and demonstrated several medical treatment procedures for specific injuries that are common combat injuries, such as head wounds and chest wounds.
The policemen took turns practicing what they learned during a series of practical application periods, loading patients onto stretchers and applying bandages and tourniquets.
“With the material that we taught these guys, they now have the ability to save lives in the future,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse A. Gutierrez, a 29-year-old hospitalman with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, from Oceanside, Calif. “We taught them some really important skills such as how to stop femoral artery bleeding, applying tourniquets, keeping airways and breathing passages open, and how to respond to a situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The corpsmen administered a written and practical application examination and awarded a certificate of completion to policemen for passing the course.
“When we spoke with the IPs, most of them said that they have seen casualties and had personnel experiences, so we know this training means something to them,” said Gutierrez. “We stressed to them, that the biggest point is to respond to a situation as quick as possible.”
Medical officials with the battalion are working to produce a medical packet to assist with teaching more policemen. Corpsmen are also helping translate class materials into Arabic to make it easier for the policemen to learn.
“We plan on revising this course and making it better for them,” said Chamberlin. “The (Iraqi policemen) told us before they left that they will go back to their stations and teach others what they learned, and this is all we can hope for.”