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NEWS | March 29, 2019

METC respiratory therapy instructors train Fort Hood EMS paramedics

By Lisa Braun Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Two instructors with the Medical Education and Training Campus Respiratory Therapy Technician program at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston have been traveling to Fort Hood, Texas, to train emergency medical services personnel.


Petty Officer 1st Class Christian Miranda, a Navy hospital corpsman, and Army Staff Sgt. Modesto Ortega conduct a course on critical care transport and transport ventilators for EMS paramedics at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine. The course is being provided in order to increase the paramedics’ ability to safely transport critical patients on transport ventilators.

A ventilator is the machine used to assist a patient with breathing.

“We introduce equipment necessary for resuscitation, along with basic equipment and oxygen concepts in order to properly treat while conducting a transport on patients requiring assistance breathing,” Miranda said.

The duo instructed their second class in early March after initiating the program in February. The intent of the course, which consists of basic anatomy and physiology to understand how the respiratory system works, and rudimentary interpretation of lab values, is to enable EMS responders to incorporate critical decision skills while in route to the next echelon of care.

Miranda said that in addition to learning the basic components of the ventilator and how to troubleshoot any issues, “the students gain a general understanding of different ventilator modalities and when or how to utilize them for specific patients depending on clinical signs and symptoms.”

The course was developed after Miranda and another instructor conducted a round of lectures at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, or CRDAMC, last fall. They spoke about transport ventilators and critical care transport in the deployed environment for emergency room residents with minimal role II emergency medicine experience to gain a general understanding of airway emergency medicine. They were subsequently asked to incorporate the lecture into a training program.

"The training provides an outstanding review of respiratory failure and the use of transport ventilators,” said Dr. Kevin Schlicksup, CRDAMC director of pre-hospital medicine at and the EMS medical director at Fort Hood. “This training greatly improved our ability to handle critical patients in respiratory failure."

Miranda and Ortega are not the only respiratory therapy technician instructors to conduct training outside of METC. Several other instructors conduct training with Special Operations Forces groups around the country to provide instruction on airway management for injuries resulting from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN, exposure.