New Tool for Devil Docs

| August 19, 2020


U.S. Navy Corpsmen with I Marine Expeditionary Force inspect the intravenous blood transfusion equipment and attend to a simulated patient during Valkyrie Emergency Whole Blood Transfusion Training program at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on May 14, 2020. US Marine Corps Photo

A “Walking Blood Bank.” Talk about Just-In-Time Inventory!

‘Valkyrie’ Blood Transfusion System Hopes to Give Marines, Sailors Fighting Chance on the Battlefield

By: Gidget Fuentes

Front-line expeditionary forces are getting a new capability that officials say will save lives by enabling small units to have an emergency, on-demand, fresh blood supply to treat battlefield casualties.

The new capability – the Emergency Fresh Whole Blood program, or “Valkyrie,” as it’s known by Marines and sailors with the task force – is being used for the first time this year by conventional forces in the Middle East, according to the Marine Corps. Army units began using a similar program for the first time in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The idea behind Valkyrie “is to provide whole blood as a resuscitation fluid” and boost the chances of survival for casualties that are hemorrhaging, Lt. Lauren Murray, battalion surgeon with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and a doctor of osteopathic medicine, told USNI News by phone from Kuwait. “It’s been used in the special operations community before, but this is the first time that we brought it out here as part of the conventional forces.”

“It’s a great tool to have in the toolbox, especially given the mission of the Special Purpose [Marine Air-Ground Task Force]-Crisis Response-Central Command, where they can deploy anywhere, anytime, and sometimes not knowing what their evacuation times is going to be,” Murray said. Her battalion, 2/5, is the ground combat element for the current SPMAGTF-CR-CC 20.2 rotation.

The lightweight kit puts life-delivering blood transfusion capability in the hands of “Platoon Docs” and trained Marines with small units that suffer casualties but aren’t near higher-echelon trauma care equipped with larger blood and plasma supplies. So a rifle squad caught in a remote mountain ambush, a refueling team on an island airstrip or an expeditionary fires crew in a remote desert – much in line with the Marine Corps’ vision of future missions in an Expeditionary Air Base Operations environment – can collect and transfuse blood to a wounded Marine or sailor quickly, helping stabilize the casualty before a truck or helicopter arrives to evacuate to a battalion aid station or surgical team.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) James Madigan, lead instructor and program coordinator with Special Purpose MAGTF-Crisis Response-Central Command, said Valkyrie “is such an incredible life-saving tool. It’s beneficial to everyone, especially CENTCOM and the Special-Purpose MAGTF, that we have this capability to deploy wherever we have to provide life-saving care to the best of our abilities.”

Does the Army have this capability too, and if not, why not? Read the rest here: USNI.org

Category: Combat Wounded, It's science!, Marines

Comments (16)

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  1. keishan s. says:

    It says the Army has been using a similar program since earlier this year.

  2. penguinman000 says:

    Nice to see there is an actual walking blood bank now. In the not too distant past there was no such thing at BN level. The only way you could get blood product was reach a STP or higher.

    And it’s interesting to see there is a female MO at 2/5. One of my old battalions.

    RETREAT HELL!!!

    • timactual says:

      The Army had a technique for direct transfusions as far back as the 1960s. Don’t know much about it, but I have seen it done.

  3. The Other Whitey says:

    I’m curious as to how they address the blood type issue. Is a corpsmen hauling a bag of each type? Is each Marine issued a bag of their own type?

  4. Mason says:

    SPMAGTF-CR-CC 20.2

    You seafaring-types sure do love overly complicated abbreviations. 🙂

    • AW1Ed says:

      I blame my tour at FASOTRAGRULANTDETJAX for my Acronym OCD issues.
      *grin*

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Hondo has another theory for your OCD issues, but Hey, we’ll go with yours. 😛

        Cool article and a well written, in depth linky. Way back yonder, your blood type was on the dog tag and it was understood that you WOULD volentold to “donate.”

        I’ll be checking out the linky that aGrimm left for us too.

        Tanks!

  5. aGrimm says:

    When my nephew’s 1st Recon Bn came home from the mid-East, I had the pleasure of greeting them and took the opportunity to talk to a couple of Docs. I was super impressed at the better gear and training they had compared to what training and gear I had in Vietnam. It got me re-interested in battlefield emergency care. Since Nam, the advances in battlefield care are astounding. If battlefield care and its advances are something in which you might be interested here is an excellent site. I have followed the site for years and highly recommend going back to its first articles.

    https://prolongedfieldcare.org/