3/27/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The aeromedical evacuation of a U.S. Marine, March 26, who suffered complications from pneumonia marked the first ever extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, transfer performed with an adult in the Western Pacific region. An ECMO provides cardiac and respiratory oxygen support to patients with damaged or diseased heart and lungs that can no longer function for themselves. To complete an ECMO a surgeon inserts tubes into the large blood vessels of the patient. With the help of blood thinners to prevent clotting, the machine will then pump blood through the patient with a membrane oxygenator, removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen, returning it back into the patient. The Marine was being cared for at the Lester hospital Intesive Care Unit, Camp Lester, Okinawa, for several days before being transferred to Kadena Air Base and then boarding a C17 that would take him to recieve specialized treatment in Hawaii. The medical team transporting the victim was composed of not only Air Force critical care air transportation nurses, but also Army soldiers who are part of the Tripler Army Medical Center joint medical attendant transport team. Although the medical team members did not belong to the same branch of service as the patient, they came together to perform what needed to be done to help save his life.
by Airman 1st Class Brooke P. Beers
18th Wing Public Affairs
6/30/2011 - CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - Utilizing night vision equipment and navigating around volcanic ash hazards, a C-17 Globemaster III and crew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, alongside aeromedical evacuation and Critical Care Air Transport Team Airmen, successfully evacuated an ailing Antarctic government contractor June 30. The contractor, who was transported to a local hospital for further treatment, received in-flight care from Airmen assigned to the U.S. Air Force-led Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, which is a joint service, ongoing Department of Defense activity in support of the National Science Foundation. NSF is the lead agency for the U.S. Antarctic Program. "Within the scope provided by NSF policy and direction, JTF-SFA coordinates with inter-agency and international partners to provide air and maritime cargo and passenger transportation throughout the Antarctica joint operations area," said Lt. Col Edward Vaughan, JTF-SFA Joint Operations and Plans chief. "A request for medical assistance was channeled to the joint task force and we quickly coordinated with U.S. Transportation Command and U.S. Pacific Command to provide dedicated airlift and medical personnel to the contractor operating at McMurdo Station. Active Duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen attached to this mission assembled the full range of medical and support capabilities and less than 18 hours after being notified of the mission arrived in Christchurch for staging. The crew, comprised of a CCATT, an aeromedical evacuation team, pilots, loadmasters and maintainers, planned side-by-side with interagency partners as they faced the challenge of safely evacuating the patient out of the Antarctic.
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