Small team that packs a punch

Two aviators proved they were worth their weight in gold by providing 24-hour medical support during Exercise Elangaroo 22.

CAPTION: Flight Lieutenant Troy Gersbach, left, and Leading Aircraftwoman Amy Wardley alongside Malaysian Army and Air Force medical personnel during Exercise Elangaroo 22 in Malaysia. Story by Flight Lieutenant Bronwyn Marchant. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Adam Abela.

Aviation medical officer Flight Lieutenant Troy Gersbach and medical technician Leading Aircraftwoman Amy Wardley deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Butterworth Air Base for the exercise.

The two-person medical team supported deployed members and took the opportunity to exchange ideas and compare medical procedures with their Malaysian health counterparts.

Visiting local hospitals and observing Malaysian military mass-casualty practice scenarios, Flight Lieutenant Gersbach drew comparisons with his own triage and medical assessment practices.

“Day-to-day, we have been seeing patients out of the Butterworth Joint Health Command (JHC) health clinic, while also providing medical assistance, advice and first aid outside of normal hours, which is new and different to back home,” Flight Lieutenant Gersbach said.

“Currently, we are working alongside a JHC-contracted Malaysian trained doctor, Dr Esther Anuradha, working here to provide a health effect for the posted 19 Squadron elements, while also assisting Dr Esther to manage patients who require specialist treatment in the aviation field.”

On his first overseas deployment, Flight Lieutenant Gershbach said it was a fantastic opportunity to travel and perform his role in a different part of the world.

“We have visited a few of the local hospitals to see what kind of services they have, what kind of patients they can handle and where we should go in the case of an emergency,” he said.

“The integration of local hospitals, aeromedical search-and-rescue team and military assets is not unlike ours back home in Australia.

“It’s been a lot of work to get everything organised and up and running but incredibly satisfying to see the things that we can achieve as an Air Force.”

Expanding her own skills and understanding by working in a bilateral environment during Elangaroo, Leading Aircraftwoman Wardley said she looked forward to imparting her new gained experience with her fellow medical technicians.

“We’ve been working with RMAF to develop a new aerodrome emergency response plan and together we’ve developed a strategy to provide improved communication, health care and transport to major hospitals,” Leading Aircraftwoman Wardley said.

“Healthcare is not just treatment for people when they are physically injured, it’s also being able to intuitively know when a member needs wellbeing support.

“I like to think of it as the better we know the people we are supporting the more effective our management can be.

“The level of care and assistance from our RMAF hosts is outstanding, from arranging our local hospital visits and being our interpreters, to providing us with vehicles for patient transport and bringing us local cuisines to try out for the first time.

“The camaraderie I have experienced and witnessed is more like a family and I am grateful to have been able to be a part of that.”





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