U.S. Navy corpsmen train for trauma at Stroger Hospital

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For the first time, Navy corpsmen are training in one of the busiest trauma units in the country, Stroger Hospital. The program is a partnership between the hospital and the Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago. It means seasoned doctors and nurses are teaching the next generation of the military members before they're deployed.

Young sailors are now at Stroger Hospital learning about gunshot wounds, stabbings and severe trauma.

"The first time they see one of these patients they freeze a little bit, but then they are more prepared for what they're going to see. It's one of the few good things that can come out of the violence that is happening here in Chicago," said Dr. Frederic Starr, a Stroger Trauma Surgeon and part of the Navy Corpsmen Program.

Because the violence is so intense at times, Stroger Hospital is often crowded with loved ones. Inside, corpsmen have witnessed all this first-hand in the trauma and E.R. units during the seven-week program.

"It's not easy because we're trying to save a human's life, but it's clock work. The job is clock work. We all know what we're supposed to do," said HN Desmond Lane, U.S. Navy Corpsman.

"What we do here and what we do on the battlefield... it's all taking care of the patient. It's all about the patient," said HM3 Justin Butcher, U.S. Navy Corpsman.

The 16 corpsman graduated Thursday, ready to tackle their next assignments.

"We don't want them to see something for the first time out on a battlefield or on board a ship, so this is a great opportunity for them. It's about building the confidence," said Force Master Chief Hosea Smith Jr. with the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine & Surgery.

"It's really rewarding to know how to do this and be able to snap out it and do this because it's someone's life," said HM3 Michelle Ramirez, U.S. Navy Corpsman.

Learning life-saving skills and learning from one of the best trauma teams that it's ultimately teamwork.

"I felt at home essentially... being in your space and comfortable is a huge deal when it comes to working in trauma because you have a team around you. Team chemistry, not unlike the Navy, in a trauma unit is just as big as anything else," said HM3 Jacob Alvarez, U.S. Navy Corpsman.

Dr. Starr said the corpsmen's first shift was 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Of course, everything happened at midnight. It was one of the busiest nights the doctor had in 10 years.

After that, they changed the corpsmen's schedules - 4 p.m. to 3 in the morning. They were able to learn quite a bit during that time.
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