known as SimMan — but they had no direct information on how he was doing during the transport.
“So they were really interested in using the capability of the ACCS, or a subsystem called the Wireless Vital
Signs Monitor, to keep an eye on the patient while they
were moving him in those local areas,” he said.
The RIMPAC exercise included ongoing experiments led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory
to develop new technologies like blood storage,
patient warming blankets with embedded sensors,
semi-autonomous casualty movement and placement
of forward resuscitative care closer to small units on
the front lines.
All that experimentation comes as the Marine Corps
returns to its expeditionary roots. Its refocusing to
come “from the sea” to reach 100 miles or more inland
with small, dispersed units in austere places also has
buoyed Navy medicine’s efforts to bolster en-route care
between ground forces and the sea base.
Without dedicated airlift like the Army’s Blackhawk
medical evacuation helicopter fleet, “we have to uti-
lize lifts of opportunity,” Bentley said, and provide
medical care for prolonged periods ashore and during
long evacuation flights to the sea base. It stretches the
required care and stabilization longer than that “golden
hour” immediately after an injury.
“That becomes more important as we move to the
Pacific theater” and in the U.S. Africa Command theater
“where the distances are so long, the infrastructure is
very limited” and coalition partners may have lesser
capabilities, he said. “We have to be able to provide
care during these long periods of holding,” what’s called
“prolonged field care,” and longer transport times.
Early in the Afghanistan war, patient transport
averaged four and a half hours from the time of injury
or wounding, Bentley said. More recently, it’s 15 to 93
minutes, although in some more austere places, mil-
itary patients may be held for up to 72 hours before
they can be transported out. So ONR wants devices
that can help monitor and stabilize a casualty.
“We are not looking to replace the corpsmen or the
physicians or the physicians’ assistants, but we’re trying
to make them more capable, so one … man or woman
can do more with the tools at hand,” Bentley said.
While the ACCS works as a closed-loop system, the
Navy still wants the person in the loop. The intention,
Bentley said, is that the ACCS computer senses what is
going on with the casualty and determines or recom-
43 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / DECEMBER 2016
A hospital corpsman assesses a simulated patient during a casualty evacuation drill on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma,
Japan, Dec. 8, 2015. The Office of Naval Research and the Marine Corps are experimenting with the Autonomous
Critical Care System, a small, ruggedized autonomous device that can treat and stabilize patients during transport across
an austere or remote battlespace en route to higher-level care.