(WSVN) - Surgeons at Ryder Trauma Center are taught to handle any injury that may roll through their doors, and as 7’s Rebecca Vargas shows us, that training isn’t just being used here in South Florida.
A day at Ryder Trauma Center can look like a war zone. Fortunately, Dr. George Garcia has experience on the battlefield. The Army veteran spent six months saving lives in Afghanistan.
Dr. George Garcia, Ryder Trauma Surgeon: “I was in a tent in the mountains, so there were no CT scanners, there were no X-rays. I’m more comfortable making fast decisions, to just say, ‘This is what’s wrong, this is what I’m going to do’ and make it happen.”
Now, he’s sharing his experiences with the next generation, teaching army surgical teams from around the country how to save lives. For Dr. Garcia, this is more than his job. He feels it’s his duty.
Dr. George Garcia: “We send a lot of kids a long way from home, and we ask a lot of them. I think, if we’re going to ask that, then we should be prepared to make sure they have every chance possible to come home.”
That dedication is one of the reasons why the U.S. Army chose Ryder Trauma Center as its training hospital. For these troops, it’s their last stop before deploying to a war zone.
Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Watson, U.S. Army Reserve: “Building that concept of team and really getting to work with folks you’re gonna be in the field with, it’s hard to simulate that.
Dr. George Garcia: “A gunshot wound is a gunshot wound, whether it’s in Miami or the mountains of Afghanistan.”
7News was the only station there when this team got their first assignment — a woman thrown from a car after a head on crash.
Spc. Brandyn Petty, U.S. Army Reserve, Kentucky: “Then they said we were going to take the patient, so that was definitely a big surprise.”
But their military training kicked in.
Spc. Brandyn Petty: “We all know our job and what we have to do.”
U.S. Army Lt Col. Gregory Watson: “You go from zero miles an hour to Mach 10 in a snap of a finger, and you have to be ready to do that.”
After about 15 minutes of checking vital signs and assessing the patient, the team got an even bigger shock: It was all staged.
Megan Rodriguez, trauma volunteer: “I’m actually a second semester paramedic student over at Miami-Dade. I do my clinicals through Jackson Memorial.”
Megan spent hours getting makeup applied so she looked injured, a process called moulage.
Dr. George Garcia: “They do a great job of moulaging up the patient, they bring them in on the helicopter and stuff.”
Even though this patient wasn’t real, the soldiers say, the lesson was.
Spec. Brandyn Petty: “Just to be prepared with my team, and to know how a team would actually function in the setting.”
For Dr. George Garcia, arming these troops with the skills to help bring home our military heroes is his most important mission yet.
Dr. George Garcia: “I think without question, it saves soldiers’ lives, for sure. Yep, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
A lot of work goes into making the mock trauma look as real as possible. As you saw, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue flies the victim in on their chopper, and the volunteer patient even has their blood drawn for the exercise. You can see more of the behind-the-scenes preparation in the clip below.
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