How Does Medical Evacuation from the Frontline Work?

October 28, 2023
Since Russia's aggression in 2014, volunteer paramedics from Hospitallers have saved over 5,000 lives by evacuating injured soldiers.
Photo credit: Hospitallers

So, how do they do it, and what do they require?

UkraineWorld asked Dmytro, call sign Kalash, an instructor at the Hospitallers Training Centre. Key points in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

What are the three steps of evacuation?

We have several areas of work, but evacuation is the main one. It takes place in several stages:

  • work on CASEVAC - crews that are deployed to assist neighbouring units or are attached to any force. They carry out the first stage of evacuation, extracting the wounded from their positions and providing minimal assistance for the first 10-15 minutes before transferring to the next stage of evacuation. It could be our medics or the Armed Forces.
  • the second stage of evacuation is MEDEVAC, which occurs when there is a qualified doctor with a medical education and a resuscitation vehicle ready for use.
  • the person's condition is then stabilised at the Stabilisation Point or Casualty Collection Point.

What are the needs?

Now we need transport - either moderately or extensively armoured - that is, something to drive to the wounded. We also require tactical medicine supplies, which are items that can be used to help others.

There are two types of injuries: critical and non-critical. After 5-7 hours, non-critical injuries can be treated. Critical injuries - bleeding, respiratory problems - are successfully treated in a 6:4 ratio during the golden hour, with constant progress in training.

How has the war affected the standard of care?

Compared to 2014, the quality of care has improved significantly. Our paramedics have received extensive training at a high level. As an instructor at the training center, for example, I pursue the highest qualifications and advanced training in my field.

When instructors from the US came, they told us how they were lagging behind because war was something different from how it is nowadays. It is a much more intense war, with more wounded and a variety of injuries.

Of course, there is the human factor to consider. It is difficult to remain motivated in such circumstances, and the government should be more involved in supporting the volunteer movement.

Daria Synhaievska, Analyst at UkraineWorld

Dmytro, call sign Kalash, an instructor at the Hospitallers Training Centre