...Our son was one of the initial medical providers for this sailor and he said that he and the other providers managed to keep this sailor conscious for over 4 1/2 hours, but ran out of time just as the helicopter arrived. Obviously, they are all very traumatized for what they experienced. The only consolation is that doctors have told them that it was remarkable that they managed to keep him alive for over an hour with those severe injuries
. ... [emphasis added]
No doubt whatever that the injuries were severe and the onboard medical response top notch in the circumstances.
When I read the comment, however, it dawned on me that a submarine medical officer may not have been among the onboard first responders. Regardless, the trauma was severe and there could be no guarantees a sailor's life might be saved.
There is an incapacity to replace major blood loss. Reading between the lines, I am almost certain that inability to replace blood was contributory to the brave submarine sailor's death.
Thinking back, our chief corpsman had once volunteered that he was trained and prepared to amputate a leg in any emergency. That would obviously entail suturing arteries, but (and I never thought about this at the time, because he had brought the subject up seemingly out of the blue) how would he have compensated for blood loss?
Until this day, I took Doc at his word. Wish I had cared enough to ask him about that one little detail.
Never reluctant to ask questions, I will ask this one now:
Do SSGNs and SSBNs have assigned submarine medical officers (MDs) who make patrols with the crew. SSBNs did in my day, and into the 1980's at least. With all of the cut backs and emphasis on I.T. solutions nowadays, one has to wonder if the submarine force eliminated onboard MDs. Probably justified, because serious submarine accidents have been rare and health is almost a non-issue.
Depending upon necessity, even some SSN crews included medical officers
in the past. Mine had had at least two before my day, but all were gone years before my service.
Our hearts certainly go out to the family and friends of a fine, young USS Nebraska sailor who, while already making a truly remarkable sacrifice for his country, wound up paying a terrible price.
Labels: submarine MDs USS Nebraska SSNs SSGN SSBN