Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2009 Contents 30
By Lieutenant Alistair Tomlinson
HMAs Kanimbla’s Primary
casualty Reception Facilities
Major ed Jones, an exercise Talisman 09 umpire
from Headquarters 13 Brigade, Perth (left) delivers
a brief on how Talisman saber 09 umpires
calculate casualties during the exercise briefs
in HMAs Kanimbla's Primary casualty Reception
Facility (PcRF). Photo: Evan Murphy
he Navy’s floating hospital
facility on HMAs Kanimbla
has been put to its full potential
after the Amphibious Landing
Platform crash-sailed for
sumatra on October 3 as part
of Operation Padang Assist, the
Australian government’s humanitarian
aid response to the earthquakes that
hit sumatra two days earlier.
Navy’s Primary Casualty Reception Facility (PCRF)
is a truly mobile capability – it receives patients via
helicopter, has surgical capabilities, hospital facilities
and many of its members have civilian careers while
also working for Navy as Reservists.
The PCRF has the best medical facilities
of any vessel in the Royal Australian Navy. In
fact, Kanimbla has Level 3 PCRF capabilities (the
highest), and is therefore qualified to provide
surgery and intensive care support.
According to PCRF Senior Medical Officer,
Commander (CMDR) Ian Young, an Orthopedic
Surgeon, whether Kanimbla is involved
conventional conflict, peacekeeping operations or
humanitarian aid, the quality of medical care his
team provides does not vary.
“It doesn’t matter to us in what circumstances a
person becomes sick or injured,” CMDR Young said.
“What matters is that we are able to provide
the best possible medical care, so that their
condition can be stabilised as soon as possible.”
To ensure that the PCRF is up to scratch, its
facilities and patient care is benchmarked against
NATO standards. By doing this, Navy can be
confident that its medical care matches world’s
best practice, a comforting thought for the men
and women of the ADF who one day may need to
rely upon the PCRF.
Providing this specialist care requires a large
number of medical personnel with a broad range of
skills to be assembled and rigorously trained. With
around 14 different types of medical professionals,
from Basic Medical Assistant through to Specialist
Doctors, ensuring genuine interoperability within
the team requires regular practice.
The recently-completed Exercise Talisman
Saber 09, presented a great opportunity for the
PCRF to be put through the hoops. During the
three-week period in July, 26 members of the team
undertook daily practice on land, in the air and at
sea, to make sure they would be ready, willing and
able to meet any future demands.
The PCRF is broadly divided into three areas
and members of the team are allocated to each
section according to their particular skills. During a
medical emergency, the PCRF would be activated
after being directed by an overarching medical
coordinator, the Casualty Regulating Cell, to
receive wounded or injured personnel. From this
point on, the PCRF swings into action, beginning
with the Aero-Medical Evacuation (AME) team.
Consisting of an emergency doctor, critical care
nurse and clinical manager, the AME flies to the
required area, assess each of the injured, and ensures
that the most serious cases are evacuated first.
On arrival onboard Kanimbla, the helicopter is
met by a triage manager, usually a surgeon, who
is responsible for allocating each case to one of
the Resuscitation Stations. Each station consists
of a doctor, nurse, clinical manager and advanced
medical assistant whose role is to prepare the
most serious cases for surgery, placement in the
high dependency unit, or provide general medical
care to less serious cases.
CMDR Young said there is a dedicated
operating theatre with a potential to upgrade to
two for those cases requiring surgery.
“We also have an intensive care recovery unit,
so our ability to assist those seriously ill or injured
is very advanced,” CMDR Young said.
After the patient’s condition has been stabilised,
they are transferred to other on shore medical
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