US Navy Combat Medicine Innovations-Mobile Trauma Bay

‘Saving lives that didn't used to be saved'
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August 21, 2009 6:23 PM

A concept by Cmdr. James Hancock is saving lives of Marines and sailors who may not have returned from deployment alive before, Marine officials say.

The Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital director of medical services designed the mobile trauma bay, which can be connected to a large scale military vehicle. It provides doctors and corpsmen in a combat zone with everything they would have in the emergency room stateside with the sole exception of a CT machine, Hancock said.

The innovation that has saved at least nine lives and several limbs is what earned Hancock the Legion of Merit award, said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Lefebrve, deputy commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force.

“Not only did Doc put this thing together, Doc exposed himself on numerous occasions, and that’s Navy medicine,” said Lefebrve.

Hancock was presented the award for his service as commander of Shock Trauma Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, United States Marine Corps Forces Central Command at a 7:30 a.m. Friday ceremony, that he said was embarrassing.

“If it was up to me, they would’ve handed it to me in the office,” he said.

But if he’d received the award in his office, 12-year-old Connor wouldn’t have been able to pin the award on his father’s chest while Hancock’s daughter, Abbigail, 14, and wife, Karen, watched from just feet away.

Hancock was deployed with 2/7 from March 2008 through Nov. 2008, and has since returned to Afghanistan with his mobile trauma bay and a traumatic brain injury team.

Hancock will again leave for Afghanistan next week with six mobile trauma bays, he said. Before they leave, however, the bays will be at the Naval Hospital.

“I can take the exact same thing I have here in the mercy room of the trauma bay and have it 50 feet from the fight so people are (taken care of) immediately,” Hancock said of the mobile trauma bays.

Hancock recalls two Marines he treated during his deployment with 2/7. The duo lost their legs and a lot of blood among other injuries, he said.

The two Marines recently sent him a picture of them standing on prostheses in Las Vegas.

“We’re saving lives that didn’t used to be saved,” he said. “ … We’re treating guys that never would have made it.]

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