Simulation lab recieves two amputee trainers

  • Published
  • By Randy Bernhardt
  • 81st Medical Group
It's 1400. You and your squad are walking a trail you've traversed 20 times en route to a small village just over the hill. You are in the lead. Suddenly, the air cracks with a massive explosion. After a moment, you regain your bearings and turn to see a giant dust cloud enveloping your team. There's a man down and he's one of yours!

Does this scenario sound plausible? Sure, and it happens too often.

Many members of the U.S. military have suffered this fate and far too many have died. It's unfortunate and it's devastating, but through training you can learn how to save a teammate's life.

Bleeding is a major problem on the battlefield. According to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Combat Casualty Care Research Program, more than 80 percent of preventable deaths on the battlefield are due to hemorrhaging. The Air Force conducts self-aid and buddy care training for all Airmen that covers the basics of trauma care can be used on the battlefield to save a life. It's great training, but it isn't as realistic as it could be. Enter the multiple amputation trauma trainers.

Keesler Medical Center's medical simulation lab recently added two MATTs to their inventory. They weigh about 175 pounds each, have articulating arms and legs and can bleed on command. Use of wireless technology enhances the realism since the operator can be up to 100 feet away and out of sight of the trainee. The MATTs simulate arterial or venous hemorrhage, both that present immediate life threats.

The adult human body contains approximately six liters of blood, as does MATT. Following a traumatic amputation of a limb, this circulating blood volume can be rapidly depleted, and there is a very short window to stop bleeding before it is too late. MATT realistically simulates an adult male and injuries frequently encountered in our current combat environments. Here is where the training begins.

The MATT is moulaged with a proprietary blood paste. In the past, we used red food coloring added to water to simulate blood, ruining a lot of uniforms with stains that didn't wash out. MATT uses a glycerin-based gel that looks and responds like real blood. It even reacts to commonly-used battlefield hemorrhage-control materials. The best part is it doesn't stain clothing.

The MATT has built-in "blood" tanks and hydraulic pumps that feed each of its wounds. During training, the responder must stop MATT's hemorrhage by applying a tourniquet or direct pressure. MATT also has a "gunshot" wound to his chest and a head laceration that can be activated to bleed independently of his lower torso. His airway can be managed using simple oxygen masks to advanced endotracheal intubation. He accepts chest tubes and has ports for needle decompressions or fluid resuscitation for more advanced training.

MATT is very realistic and his health can quickly deteriorate if the student responder doesn't stop the bleeding. These features make MATT an exceptional training tool for emergency responders who may one day find themselves in a mass-casualty situation.

Keesler is very fortunate to have training tools as realistic as MATT. The medical simulation lab is using MATT as the primary "victim" as it works with Keesler's fire rescue department and emergency medical personnel. We plan to deploy the MATTs to various locations around Keesler to exercise emergency response teams and reinforce the steps necessary to act quickly to save lives.

In addition to the MATTs, the simulation lab has an eight-member family of wireless adult and pediatric human patient simulators that are programmable to realistically reproduce human medical emergencies.

The simulation lab may be able to help people with a medical training need achieve their training goals. To see MATT or any of our other medical-skills trainers or to learn more about our products and training capabilities, call 228-376-4878.