WHINSEC Leaders Help Paraguay with Medical Training Course
By By U.S. Army Capt. Juan M. Almonte and Lee Rials, WHINSEC Public Affairs October 15, 2018
Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez issued an order establishing a new Emergency Medical Response course after a successful presentation of the course.
Three observer/evaluators from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) participated, along with six Paraguayan instructors who taught the initial course to 68 Paraguayan medics.
The Joint Peace Operations Center of Paraguay (CECOPAZ-Paraguay, in Spanish) sponsored the course which provided fundamentals of tactical medical treatment with emphasis on giving aid under combat conditions.
One WHINSEC instructor was present at all training; first was U.S. Army Captain David S. De La Fuente, followed by Colombian Army Master Sergeant Oscar A. Vera and U.S. Army Captain Juan M. Almonte. The institute instructor role was to observe and provide feedback and if requested, provide recommendations on the execution of the course.
Each WHINSEC instructor remained in Paraguay for about 13 days, providing different approaches in teaching methodology, techniques on operation of medical equipment, and techniques on casualty management during combat operations.
Observations of the WHINSEC instructors were provided to the course director and his instructors to suggest different methods on how to carry out the implementation of the course to which the instructors were given the opportunity to make modifications to their course following the information provided to them by the U.S. instructors.
The course offered both didactic and hands-on training focused on basic anatomy and physiology, hemorrhage control, treatment of respiratory dysfunctions, treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, managing cardiac arrest victims, head and neck injury treatment, casualty evacuation techniques, and patient triage.
That was the medical part—the medics also had to learn basic tactical movement in an area of suspected danger, identifying and responding to threats to personnel and casualties, and reaction to enemy contact.
Students were evaluated with a series of written and hands-on evaluations culminating in a final written exam and a final practical exercise.
Among the instructors was a surgeon who provided all lesson plans and material required for the didactic portions and provided lectures on human anatomy and basic functions of the human body when exposed to trauma.
Two medical specialists with emergency medical experience in northern Paraguay where military personnel are in conflict instructed on injuries commonly sustained there.
Two other medical specialists, one a paramedic and the other a Paraguayan special operations medic, provided detailed information on treatment of injuries sustained in emergency situations, reaction to contact, and tactical movement with emphases on defense of oneself, the unit and the casualty.