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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a four-part series about the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's medical response capabilities and the various teams within the wing who play a role in the care and transportation of combat wounded troops throughout Afghanistan.

Three critically injured patients need immediate transfer to a medical facility outside of Afghanistan. One has a shot to the head, the other has missing limbs and the last has an open abdominal wound. Without a mobile intensive care unit, these patients will not make the flight out.  For members of the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Critical Care Air Transport Team, this is go-time.  A CCATT crew consists of a physician, intensive care nurse and a respiratory therapist. Together they can turn a regular medical transport aircraft into a flying intensive care unit, making it possible to move severely injured or gravely ill servicemembers by air to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  Starting with the aeromedical evacuation of the patients from forward operating bases, to treating them at the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility and then transporting them out of the country through a C-17 Globemaster III "Reach" mission to LRMC, moving patients throughout the area of responsibility takes a working team with multiple parts.   
At the Craig Joint Theater Hospital on Bagram Airfield, the CCATT crew unplugs the patient from the hospital's power and respiratory machines and into mobile units that are positioned along with stretchers. Then with the help of the hospital staff and the CASF crew, the patients are moved to the flightline where an aircraft awaits, already configured for their needs.  Once on the aircraft, each patient is attached to the central air and power supply and prepared for take-off. Since the majority of the CCATT's patients are unconscious during the trip, great care is given to monitor their vitals and wellbeing.  "We make a promise to these men and women that no matter what happens, we will do everything in our power to bring them home," said Capt. Mario Ramirez, CCATT physician. "Being a part of CCATT is a great honor and allows me to help fulfill that mission." 

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Read more: After The Battle: The Flying ICU

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Category: CCATT News & Current Affairs

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12/7/2012 -  JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas  -- Andre Gholson doesn't need to display his powerlifting gold medals at his office at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center or at home.  All that matters to the Critical Care Air Transport Team nursing consultant from the 59th Medical Wing is that the record books show he is a world champion. Gholson added another milestone to his record in October when he won the overall gold medal in the International Powerlifting Federation's World Masters Powerlifting Championships for the 40 to 49-year-old category in Killeen, Texas.  He also took gold in squat (815 pounds) and deadlift (661 pounds).  Gholson's wins in the other categories were surprising to him since his original goals were to hone his skills in only bench pressing.  After taking advice from his first trainer, Ray Baxter, who believed Gholson could be a powerlifter, he decided to compete in powerlifting competitions at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston beginning in 2006.  While training, Gholson was looking for a formula for success and noticed other lifters wore a type of shirt that helped them push weight more easily.  Powerlifters wear weightlifting shirts that help them push more weight and help take pressure off their joints.  Baxter also introduced him to Gene Bell and Ennis White, who were accomplished powerlifters in their own rights.  It was Bell who helped Gholson get on track, putting him on the elliptical.  "He helped me get into shape," Gholson said. "He helped me out with a lot of my technique and form."  Gholson also said Bell helped him curtail several bad habits.  "Instead of going to the bar, yelling and jerking the weights, Bell told me to calm down and use my energy on my lifts."

Gholson found both success and heartbreak during his journey to being a world champion.  He went to the USA Powerlifting Masters Nationals in 2011 where he won in his 275-pound weight class. As a result of winning that competition, Gholson was chosen to represent Team USA at the IPF World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Canada.  In Canada, Gholson was disqualified due to bringing the bar too close to his abdomen.  

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Read more: Nursing Consultant Adds Another Feat To The Books

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