The Navy has opted to send their medics to one of the most violent cities in America because it’s “the closest thing to a war zone.” This unorthodox training gives medics real-life experience working on patients suffering from gunshot wounds without having to send them on deployment for months at a time.
Patients are admitted to Chicago hospitals as a result of violent crimes on a daily basis. Beginning in 2014, Navy Corpsmen were sent to Chicago hospitals for training. Traditionally, Navy Corpsmen are required to complete 14 weeks of additional training after they have mastered the basics of first aid and patient care.
The training has been so successful that the Department of Defense is planning on expanding the program. The Navy hopes that this real-world exposure will prepare their medics working in war zones when the pressure is on to save a life.
The program, which takes place at Chicago’s Stroger Hospital, offers “realistic, hands-on trauma training’ that allows ‘them to hone their skills and increase their readiness,” Defense Department spokesman Maj. Carla Gleason said.
Dr. Faran Bokhari, a doctor who specializes in trauma & burn surgery at the hospital, echoed Gleason’s sentiments. “The experience here can’t be replicated elsewhere, unless you have a major land invasion,” Bokhari said.
According to the Daily Mail, the medics don’t get a lot of actual training time before working in the hospital. Medics receive two days of training and are immediately hurled into 12-hour shifts during the hospital’s busiest time.
Chicago had it’s highest murder rate in 2016. Since then, the numbers have decreased, but gunshot victims continue to come in daily.
This regiment offers excellent on-the-job training as a large portion of the injuries medics deal with in the Middle East are gunshot wounds and shrapnel victims.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the national average for gunshot victims in hospitals is 4.2 percent. To put that average into perspective, 30 percent of patients admitted to hospitals in Chicago are gunshot victims.