Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman strapped the casualty onto a litter and placed him aboard an MV- 22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for the medical evacuation from the battlefield. When the Osprey
touched down on the landing zone, other Marines
clipped the litter onto the back of a Polaris MRZR offroad
vehicle and sped the patient down a hill to the nearest
forward resuscitative surgical section.
Throughout that transport, clipped in and under the
litter, the Autonomous Critical Care System (ACCS)
monitored the patient’s vital signs and delivered, when
needed, lifesaving doses of intravenous fluid and oxygen — and at times, by design, without the hands-on
actions of a corpsman or physician.
That scenario, conducted during
a summer desert exercise at Marine
Corps Air Ground Combat Center
in Twentynine Palms, Calif., experimented with one of the latest high-tech advances in battlefield care.
The ACCS, under development
by the Office of Naval Research
(ONR), can deliver intravenous
fluids, oxygen, medication and stabilize blood pressure, as well provide real-time medical information
and tracking throughout transport
on military vehicles and aircraft
and to sea base. At 22 pounds, it
is easily transportable and moves
with the patient and the standard
litter or stretcher, without getting
in the way or hampering medical
treatment or transport.
Officials said the initial experiment, done simultaneously with
the Southern California portion
of the 2016 Rim of the Pacific
(RIMPAC) exercise, went better
“We got farther than we wanted to,” said Dr.
Timothy Bentley, force health protection deputy with
ONR. “We wanted to show it to guys who were actually
doing field trials of the whole medical support.”
The ACCS “monitors the casualty like an ICU
[intensive care unit],” Bentley told Seapower. “It mea-
sures his blood pressure, heart rate, ventilation rate,
oxygenation, temperature and cardiac output.”
It did not take much to impress the Marines, includ-
ing those taking the patient to the surgical section,
with the potential lifesaving benefit of such an auton-
omous and portable system. The Marines told Bentley
they wished they knew what was going on with the
patient — an advanced patient simulator mannequin
Marines, ONR work to develop high-tech system
to help monitor, stabilize casualties in the field
By GIDGET FUENTES, Special Correspondent
The Office of Naval Research and the Marine Corps are experimenting to develop a small, ruggedized autonomous device that
can serve as an “ICU on the go” to treat and stabilize patients
during transport across an austere or remote battlespace en route
to higher-level care.
n The Autonomous Critical Care System, or ACCS, is a closed-loop system — much like a house thermostat — that can deliver
intravenous fluids, oxygen, medication and stabilize blood pressure, as well as provide real-time medical information and tracking throughout transport on military vehicles and aircraft and
to sea base.
n The suitcase-sized device will not replace the hospital corpsman,
nurse or physician en route — at least for now, officials say — but
augment the medical capability to stabilize the patient, particularly
n Officials hope to use the ACCS with real-time in-flight monitoring
and tracking during next year’s Bold Alligator exercise on the East
Coast, and plan for future experiments with ACCS in casualty
evacuations using unmanned aerial and ground vehicles.