POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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P O L I C E M AG .C O M 15 er should feel comfortable with medical support operating within this environ- ment if they have not received the prop- er training. AGENCY ASSETS Once established, a tactical medical team can perform numerous high-lev- el functions to support the SWAT team and reduce police department liability. e team can provide careful advance coordination and planning for the nec- essary specialized medical equipment, and transport assets needed for suc- cessful tactical operations. While most EMS agencies operate in urban areas which are hospital-heav y, some tactical operations take place in remote or rural areas, often hours from the nearest hospital or even farther from a trauma center. In these cases, on- scene medical support with advanced life support capabilities can secure an airway and I.V. lines. Stabilizing the in- jured officer for transport might make an important difference in his condi- tion once en route to the trauma center. A team physician on-scene can pro- vide a wealth of medical knowledge, medical control, and guidance for para- medics assigned to the team. Should complications of injuries ex- ceed paramedic protocols, the need to contact a base station is avoided and mission security is maintained. e team physician can ensure that injured officers are afforded the best possible on-scene medical treatment and if necessary are then transferred to an appropriate medical facility in a timely manner. A physician serving as a medical ad- visor is a definite asset to the team com- mander, as any minor medical prob- lems that come up during an operation can be managed in-house. A tactical medical team that supports a police SWAT team contributes superi- or team morale and spirit and will re- duce lost work time for specially trained and difficult-to-replace police officers. e reduction in line-of-duty injuries then translates into reduced disability costs to the agency. ULTIMATE GOAL Emergency medical support of tactical operations can and does enhance the probability of a successful operation. When officers are critically injured during a tactical operation, the goal should be to reduce the time from injury to definitive care. ese objectives must be balanced between the maintenance of medical and tactical skills and con- tinuous evaluations of those prehospital procedures that make a difference in the outcome of the injured. Above all, the ul- timate goal is to minimize injury, max- imize survivability, and to stay safe. Lawrence Heiskell, MD, FACEP, FAAFP is an emergency physician and a veter- an reserve police officer with the Palm Springs (CA) Police Department. He is the founder and medical director of the International School of Tactical Medicine.

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