U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Flight Team members Staff Sgt. Daniel Zimmerman, Capt. Sarah Hensley and Capt. Kirt Cline monitor the patient during a mission to Singapore Nov. 9.
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
03 DECEMBER 2015
Since 1952, the Burn Flight Team from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, has deployed throughout the world to provide burn care and transport patients to the Burn Center. The burn critical care provided by the six-person team during transport has been crucial in saving the lives of hundreds of burn patients from on and off the battlefield.
During its most recent mission Dec. 9 to Singapore, the team added a new capability to its arsenal of critical care equipment–a kidney dialysis machine to provide continuous renal replacement therapy. According to burn trauma surgeon, Maj. (Dr.) Ian Driscoll, this was the first time that the Burn Flight Team has performed this therapy in-flight.
“It was necessary for a patient who was in renal failure after sustaining electrical injury and extensive burns,” he said. “He would not have survived the flight without this specialized organ support.”
CRRT is routinely used in the Burn Intensive Care Unit to purify the blood of toxins through a filtration system and assist in fluid removal. Team members Sgt. Francisco Rosario and Andrew Wallace constantly monitored the equipment during the flight and it performed flawlessly at extremes of altitude and temperature.
Driscoll believes that CRRT will someday be routinely used to transport patients in renal failure.
“I also believe that this proves that CRRT can be used in austere locations where it hasn’t been available in the past,” he said. “I hope that this motivates the development of smaller, portable units.”
Until then, the Burn Flight Team will use CRRT when needed and continue upholding its world-renowned reputation and living up to its motto: “Anytime, Anywhere.”