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NEWS | July 21, 2023

Wisconsin Guard Trains with Hospital on Patient Transport

By Staff Sgt. Alice Ripberger, Wisconsin National Guard

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the past few months, Wisconsin Army National Guard aviation Soldiers have partnered with Aurora BayCare Medical Center to conduct training to provide a higher level of care for critically ill patients being transported by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

“This helps train nurses for future partnerships if we ever needed to evacuate a patient using types of transportation that we don’t often see,” said Robyn Merkatoris, a nursing professional development specialist for the intensive care unit at Aurora BayCare.

Soldiers and helicopters from the West Bend, Wisconsin-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment (GSAB) and Company G, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment (GSAB) — the medevac assets of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation in Madison, Wisconsin — have engaged in training scenarios tailored specifically to the critical care flight paramedics, aircrews and the team at Aurora BayCare. Sgt. James Hughes, a flight medic with Company G, said that cross training is important because of the significant differences between the military and civilian aircraft.

“It’s about setting up for success in the event of an emergency,” Hughes explained.

Maj. Sarah Latza, the operations officer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in West Bend, said this kind of training is impossible to conduct internally as an air ambulance company.

“Aurora BayCare’s participation increases our flight medics’ and aircrews’ exposure and capabilities,” Latza said. “It also increases communication and coordination with civilian organizations in our backyard so that when the domestic mission happens — search and rescue patient drop-off, request to transport a critically ill patient that civilian EMS isn’t able to support — our Soldiers and aircrew members and the civilian medical support infrastructure are familiar with each other.”

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers Capt. John Jenkins and Staff Sgt. Eric Furbee coordinated with Sarah Pearson, nursing director at Aurora BayCare, to make this training possible.

Maj. Sarah Latza, the operations officer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in West Bend, said this kind of training is impossible to conduct internally as an air ambulance company.

“Aurora BayCare’s participation increases our flight medics’ and aircrews’ exposure and capabilities,” Latza said. “It also increases communication and coordination with civilian organizations in our backyard so that when the domestic mission happens — search and rescue patient drop-off, request to transport a critically ill patient that civilian EMS isn’t able to support — our Soldiers and aircrew members and the civilian medical support infrastructure are familiar with each other.”

Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers Capt. John Jenkins and Staff Sgt. Eric Furbee coordinated with Sarah Pearson, nursing director at Aurora BayCare, to make this training possible.

 

 

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