EDF holds battlefield medicine exercise

EDF combat medicine exercise in progress.
EDF combat medicine exercise in progress. Source: EDF

Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) troops took part in a combat medicine exercise in Tartu Monday, and were also joined by allied personnel from the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup.

While a boost in defense spending will add large amounts of military kit to the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), Ahti Varblane, chief doctor at the Defense Forces Academy (Kaitseväe Akadeemia) said that this needed to be matched in personnel, who in turn need adequate combat medicine.

Varblane said: "Precisely because we are not a big country and every person counts, we have provided for all those injured to receive the best of all possible modern treatments. This is naturally one of the basic principles of our activities."

The EDF rehearsed that very, self-same principle in Tartu last week, with the transferal of an injured soldier from battlefield to field hospital in focus.

Valter Voomets, who oversaw the exercise, said: "We have prepared some 'victims', with the use of makeup, who had been injured in the field. Evacuation vehicles deployed and paramedics helped the victim on the field. They were then evacuated to the brigade-level field hospital, which has the capacity for surgery and intensive care," adding that the most commonplace battlefield injuries need not be fatal, if quick intervention is forthcoming.

Ahti Varblane said: "There are basically three things that kill on the battlefield. Major bleeding from the limbs, blocked airways and tension pneumothorax. These are all things that can be resolved or, for example, bleeding can be closed via the use of a tourniquet."

Treatment of severe trauma must be rehearsed separately: "Fortunately, Estonia is a peaceful country. We do not experience cases of such severe trauma too often, and if we want to ensure the ability to handle these, then this cannot happen in the course of day-to-day medicine."

Troops from the Danish and British armies, based at Tapa, also took part in the event.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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