SAN FRANCISCO -- Members of the Bay Area medical community took an opportunity during San Francisco Fleet Week to view disaster response demos aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, Oct. 7.
First responders, including nurses, partnered with Navy medical staff to engage in mutual concerns regarding disaster relief and humanitarian assistance should a crisis occur in the area.
“Part of what we are doing today is bringing medical professionals from the civilian community here in San Francisco on to [USS] Bonhomme Richard to learn about our capabilities,” said Capt. Jonathan Harnden, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard.
After touring the ship and seeing the medical and dental capabilities, the guests moved to Marina Green, where Marines and sailors set up a Shock Trauma Platoon medical unit and Forward Resuscitative Surgical Suite.
The sailors mission is to perform emergency life or limb saving procedures near the battlefield to improve survivability as casualties are transported to the next echelon of medical care such as Bonhomme Richard. The facilities can be set up in approximately one hour by Marines and sailors, and can hold patients up to 24 hours if needed with a staff of 18 to include emergency room physicians and Navy corpsmen.
“This meeting allows us to mitigate any delay or confusion by examining our procedures and theirs and coming up with a common way of doing things so we can work together with no delay or confusion and save lives,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Eugene Lewis, hospital corpsmen with First Medical Battalion Advisor Training Group.
The local medical staff got a first-hand chance to see the Navy-Marine Corps rapid deployment capabilities as well as the training tools and dummies used for realistic scenarios. The visiting medical staff was hands-on with the equipment and gear made available during the exhibit.
“The ability to deploy this facility on American shores as well as overseas is an incredible capability,” said Greg Rohrbach, a nurse with San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital.
Navy medical staff educated Bay Area first responders and showcased their interoperability capabilities if and when a disaster occurs.
“We have an incredible medical capability in the military,” Harnden said. “We are trying to educate [them] so they can think about it, know that it’s there and maybe take it a step further to figure out how to work it into their disaster response plans.”