05 Aug 2017

Well that’s a wrap for the first Australian Tactical Medicine Conference (ATMC) held in Sydney over 19th-20th July. For the first time in Australia personnel involved in tactical medical operations and training from all over the country converged in one room for two days of presentations, discussions and breakout sessions with the goal of advancing tactical medical capability, information sharing and networking. This invite-only event was designed to foster open discussion and debate among personnel from some of Australia’s elite police, ambulance and military tactical operations units. As co-convener with Oli Ellis it was great to see so many people attend and share their knowledge and passion for tactical medicine. The event also saw the official launch of the Australian Tactical Medical Association (ATMA), more on that later in the article.

The morning session of day one featured reviews on the latest TCCC/TECC updates and a recap of SOMSA 17 followed by briefs from various units on their tactical medical capabilities. This provided a great opportunity for everyone in the room to see how other programs compared and contrasted against theirs. There were plenty of comments made about how each team faced identical challenges in their respective tactical medical programs. Oli Ellis discussed intrinsic versus extrinsic medical support to tactical operations which kicked off a discussion about the merits of both. Prior to lunch Jeremy Holder from TacMed Australia discussed current and emerging haemorrhage control technology with some interesting and exciting new advancements in managing severe internal and external bleeding hitting the market.

The afternoon session saw presentations by former SCAT Paramedic Paul Featherstone on maintaining a patient focused attitude, Matt Pepper with a review of his three month scholarship studying tactical medical programs overseas and a case study from the Lindt Café Siege. An international speaker from the LA Sheriff’s Department SEB/SWAT Paramedic program gave a great presentation discussing their operations and training methods, which was a highlight of the conference. The day finished off with a presentation on the often overlooked topic of tactical medical operations planning given by Dr Dan Pronk. This was very well received and highlighted the need for standardised planning forms and the need for integration with other agencies or military units early in the tactical operations planning process.

The day two morning sessions kicked off with Ben Davoren discussing updates on Prolonged Field Care followed by a number of other case studies and clinical ‘vignettes’ from recent operations both domestically and internationally. The morning session also included a discussion from myself on Clinical Placement Programs and how to best utilise the limited time unit personnel have on placement in Emergency Department’s, EMS services and veterinary clinics.

After a long lunch and plenty of discussions on all things tactical medicine the afternoon session brought presentations from Matt Pepper on Rescue Task Forces and an informative review on recent events in Paris. A former SOCOMD operator conducted an excellent discussion session titled ‘Fueling the Tactical Operator’. He outlined some evidence surrounding the potential advantages in personnel using varying degrees of ketosis while in tactical operations for both fuel and neuroprotective benefits. Dr Dan Pronk finished up with a series of presentations covering a solid review on ballistic penetrating trauma and blast trauma in tactical environments. This was followed by a group based tactical medical operations planning activity that saw the attendees divided into groups and given an evolving hypothetical mission that they were asked to discuss and plan for as the lead tactical medical planner.

After the conference closing address the first annual general meeting for the Australian Tactical Medical Association (ATMA) was held. ATMA was officially launched with the executive and board voted in along with a number of key priorities discussed. ATMA has been launched to provide information, standardisation and advocacy in the development of tactical medicine in Australia so stay tuned in the next few months for an official website and our ‘go live’ date for taking memberships.

Thanks to TacMed Australia as the principle conference sponsor and all the units and personnel that attended ATMC 2017. It went better than even we expected for an inaugural conference and ATMA has already started planning for the open invitation Australian Tactical Medicine Conference 2018.

See you all there!

     – Adam

 

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