December 1, 2012  

Life-saving training

To the Army, for taking years to start sending flight medics to paramedic school.

Twenty-six soldiers have just completed a course that is certain to save lives. They are the first of about 1,000 flight medics who will go to civilian schools to complete paramedic training, receiving some 1,100 hours of extra training that will make them the equivalent of civilian paramedics. The Army made the move after discovering that soldiers medevaced by National Guard units whose flight medics were civilian paramedics had a 66 percent better chance of survival than those medevaced by Regular Army units. There’s no excuse for having settled for a lower standard of care.

Nothing can be done to rewrite history, but the Army can continue to learn from this lesson. Service leaders say they may add paramedic training to ground ambulance crews. That’s the right next step. In fact, they should look at adding similar training to all Army medics.