Combat medic
Overview
 
Combat medics are trained military personnel who are responsible for providing first aid
First aid
First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care...

 and frontline trauma care
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 on the battlefield. They are also responsible for providing continuing medical care in the absence of a readily available physician, including care for disease and battle injury. Combat medics are normally co-located with the combat troops they serve in order to easily move with the troops and monitor ongoing health.
Encyclopedia
Combat medics are trained military personnel who are responsible for providing first aid
First aid
First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care...

 and frontline trauma care
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 on the battlefield. They are also responsible for providing continuing medical care in the absence of a readily available physician, including care for disease and battle injury. Combat medics are normally co-located with the combat troops they serve in order to easily move with the troops and monitor ongoing health. In 1864, sixteen European states (referring to themselves as "High Contracting Parties"), adopted the First Geneva Convention
First Geneva Convention
The First Geneva Convention, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, is one of four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It defines "the basis on which rest the rules of international law for the protection of the victims of armed conflicts." It was first adopted...

 to save lives, to alleviate the suffering of wounded and sick military personnel, and to protect trained medical personnel as civilians, in the act of rendering aid.

Chapter IV, Article 25 of the Geneva Convention states that "Members of the armed forces specially trained for employment, should the need arise, as hospital orderlies, nurses or auxiliary stretcher-bearers, in the search for or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded and sick shall likewise be respected and protected if they are carrying out these duties at the time when they come into contact with the enemy or fall into his hands."
Article 29 reads "Members of the personnel designated in Article 25 who have fallen into the hands of the enemy, shall be prisoners of war, but shall be employed on their medical duties insofar as the need arises."

According to the Geneva Convention, knowingly firing at a medic wearing clear insignia is a war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

.

In modern times, most combat medics carry a personal weapon, to be used to protect themselves and the wounded or sick in their care. When and if they use their arms offensively, or carry arms that qualify as offensive, they then sacrifice their protection under the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

.

History

Surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey
Dominique Jean Larrey
Dominique Jean Larrey was a French surgeon in Napoleon's army and an important innovator in battlefield medicine.-Biography:...

 directed the Grande Armée of Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 to develop mobile field hospitals, or "ambulances volantes" (flying ambulances), in addition to a corps of trained and equipped soldiers to aid those on the battlefield. Before Larrey's initiative in the 1790s, wounded soldiers were either left amid the fighting until the combat ended or their comrades would carry them to the rear line.

It was during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 that Surgeon (Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

) Jonathan Letterman
Jonathan Letterman
Jonathan Letterman was an American surgeon credited as being the originator of the modern methods for medical organization in armies. Dr...

, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

, realized a need for an integrated medical treatment and evacuation system. He saw the need to equip this system with its own dedicated vehicles, organizations, facilities, and personnel. The Letterman plan was first implemented in September 1862 at the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

, Maryland.
The United States Army’s need for medical and scientific specialty officers to support combat operations resulted in the creation of two temporary components: the US Army Ambulance Service
United States Army Ambulance Service
The United States Army Ambulance Service was a unit of the United States Army during World War I. It was established by General Order No. 75 of the War Department in May 1917...

, established on June 23, 1917 and the Sanitary Corps, established on June 30, 1917. Officers of the Sanitary Corps served in medical logistics, hospital administration, patient administration, resource management, x-ray, laboratory engineering, physical reconstruction, gas defense, and venereal disease control. They were dedicated members of the medical team that enabled American generals to concentrate on enemy threats rather than epidemic threats. On August 4, 1947, Congress created the Medical Service Corps.

In the United States, a report entitled "Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society (1966)
The White Paper
Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, more commonly known as The White Paper, was an influential report published in 1966 by the National Academy of Sciences that is considered a landmark in the development of the emergency medical services system in the United...

", was published by National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 and the National Research Council
United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...

. Better known as "The White Paper" to emergency providers, it revealed that soldiers who were seriously wounded on the battlefields of Vietnam had a better survival rate than those individuals who were seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents on California freeways. Early research attributed these differences in outcome to a number of factors, including comprehensive trauma care, rapid transport to designated trauma facilities, and a new type of medical corpsman, one who was trained to perform certain critical advanced medical procedures such as fluid replacement and airway management, which allowed the victim to survive the journey to definitive care.

Red Cross, Red Crescent, and MDA

The International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

, a private humanitarian institution based in Switzerland, provided the first official symbol for medical personnel. The first Geneva convention, originally called for "Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field," officially adopted the red cross on a field of white as the identifying emblem. This symbol was meant to signify to enemy soldiers that the medic qualifies as a noncombatant, at least while providing medical care. Islamic countries use a Red Crescent instead. During the 1876-1878 war between Russia and Turkey, the Ottoman empire declared that it would use a red crescent instead of a red cross as its emblem, although it agreed to respect the red cross used by the other side. Although these symbols were officially sponsored by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a humanitarian institution that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the ICRC and 186 distinct National Societies...

, the Magen David Adom
Magen David Adom
The Magen David Adom is Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. The name means "Red Star of David"...

 ("MDA"), Israel's emergency relief service, used the Magen David (a red star of David on a white background). Israeli medics still wear the Magen David. To enable MDA to become a fully recognized and participating member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Protocol III
Protocol III
Protocol III is a 2005 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. This protective sign may be displayed by medical and religious personnel at times of war, instead of the traditional Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols...

 was adopted. It is an amendment to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem and authorizes the use of a new emblem, known as the third protocol emblem or the Red Crystal. For indicative use on foreign territory, any national society can incorporate its unique symbol into the Red Crystal. Under Protocol III, the MDA will continue to employ the red Magen David for domestic use, and will employ the red crystal on international relief missions.

Modern day

Traditionally, medical personnel did not carry weapons and wore a distinguishing red cross, to denote their protection as noncombatants under the Geneva Convention. This practice continued into World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. However, the enemies faced by professional armies in more recent conflicts are often insurgents who either do not recognize the Geneva Convention, or do not care, and readily engage all personnel, irrespective of noncombatant status. For this reason, some modern combat medics are armed combatants and do not wear distinguishing markings. Combat Medics in the United States Army and United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
A Hospital Corpsman is an enlisted medical specialist for the United States Navy who serves with Navy and United States Marine Corps units. The Hospital Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships,...

 are virtually indistinguishable from regular combat troops, except for the extra medical equipment they carry.

The colloquial form of address for a Hospital Corpsman or Medic is "Doc." In the U.S. Marine Corps, this term is generally used as a sign of respect. The US Navy deploys Corpsman attached to US Marine Corps units as part of the Fleet Marine Force
Fleet Marine Force
The United States Fleet Marine Forces are combined general and special purpose forces within the United States Department of the Navy that are designed in engaging offensive amphibious or expeditionary warfare and defensive maritime employment...

 (FMF). The US Marines does not maintain a medical corps and relies on Navy corpsmen and other Naval medical personnel for medical care.

USAF medics have frequently served attached to US Army units in recent conflicts. Though all combat medical personnel are universally referred to as "medic", within different branches of the US military, the skill level, quality of training and scope of work performed by medics varies from branch to branch.

See also

  • 68W
    68W
    68W is the Military Occupational Specialty for the United States Army's healthcare specialist, also known as the combat medic...

     (medic; U.S. Army)
  • Ambulance -- Military use
  • Battlefield medicine
    Battlefield medicine
    Battlefield medicine, also called field surgery and later combat casualty care, is the treatment of wounded soldiers in or near an area of combat. Civilian medicine has been greatly advanced by procedures that were first developed to treat the wounds inflicted during combat...

  • Brain Trauma Foundation
    Brain Trauma Foundation
    The Brain Trauma Foundation was founded in 1986 to develop research on traumatic brain injury . Since its formation the foundation's mission has expanded to improving the outcome of TBI patients nationwide through working to implement evidence-based guidelines for prehospital and in-hospital care,...

  • Combat support hospital
    Combat support hospital
    A Combat Support Hospital is a type of field hospital. The CSH is a United States military mobile hospital delivered to the Corps Support Area in standard military-owned Demountable Containers cargo containers and assembled by the staff into a tent hospital to treat wounded soldiers. A CSH also...

  • Enlisted Medics (U.S. Air Force)
  • Flight medic
    Flight medic
    A Flight Medic is a generic term used to describe a Paramedic that functions in an aeromedical environment. Typically the Flight Medic will work with a registered nurse, physician, Respiratory Therapist, or another Paramedic. The Flight Paramedic is usually highly trained and has years of clinical...


  • Hospital Corpsman
    United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
    A Hospital Corpsman is an enlisted medical specialist for the United States Navy who serves with Navy and United States Marine Corps units. The Hospital Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships,...

     (U.S. Navy)
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical evacuation
  • Military medicine
    Military medicine
    The term military medicine has a number of potential connotations. It may mean:*A medical specialty, specifically a branch of occupational medicine attending to the medical risks and needs of soldiers, sailors and other service members...

  • Polytrauma
  • Royal Army Medical Corps
    Royal Army Medical Corps
    The Royal Army Medical Corps is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace...

  • Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) (U.S. Navy)


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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