By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#108, March 7, 2001
Sipovo - The creaking double door opens. A head
taller than his colleagues, Dutch commander Van der Molen goes
out of the conference room and walks back up the main corridor
of the Sipovo hospital. Meetings are always a bit too long,
but it is essential to take regularly stock of the situation.
We are also discussing evolutions we would like to provide for
the running of the hospital, he said with a smile. He looks
quickly at several soldiers of the UK Combat Service Support Battalion
(CSS Bn), who are waiting for their consultations. Activity
is quiet at the moment, only two beds are occupied. But we are
in a position to respond quickly to any signalled urgency.
Located in an old textile factory, which before the war manufactured
clothing for export all over Europe, the integrated medical unit
takes advantage of the presence in Sipovo camp of the Combat Service
Support Battalion and the Immediate Response Team (IRT). The CSS
medical Coy puts its ten ambulances at free disposal and IRT provides
its Cougar helicopter, which is very useful, seeing that 90% of
the wounded and sick persons are transported by air. A Canadian
Griffon and its crew supply additional help for winch-operations.
hospital has a ten beds capacity, which can be increased by twenty
additional if needed. Among the 46 employees of that multinational
medical unit, there are two surgeons, two anaesthetists, one emergency
doctor, one physician, nine nurses and some specialists operating
in the radiology and orthopaedic fields. Our mission is
to provide primary and emergency medical care to SFOR staff broadly
comparable with peacetime standards, said Capt. Ducker from
the Royal Air Force. A very important point for this British officer
more accustomed to the Spartan comfort of field hospitals. With
its two fully equipped theatres, its resuscitation section and
its imaging department, the Sipovo hospital need not to be ashamed
facing Western civilian medical means. We cover all the
multinational division South-West (MND-SO). We have to face up
to any type of situation, said Maj. Van der Molen.
The structure is capable of receiving 2 P1 (seriously wounded
casualties requiring immediate resuscitative surgery), 6 P2 (casualties
who are seriously wounded but there is no immediate danger to
life) and 17 P3 (casualties who have light wounds and whose treatment
may be safely delayed) over a 24 hours period without becoming
overwhelmed. Patients requiring specialist care such as neurosurgery
and ophthalmology are transferred to the German field hospital
of Rajlovac, near Sarajevo. Digital medical imaging can be sent
to Utrecht (Netherlands) by satellite to be analysed by specialists.
We also receive civilians because of the poor medical infrastructure
in BiH. Each physician of the Opstina (municipality) is allowed
to send us three patients per day, but we don't want to be a substitute
for the local medical system, said Maj. Van der Molen.
Consultations of the Combat Service Support Battalion soldiers
are completed. The British, Canadian, Dutch and Czech staff meet
to exchange news. This is a luck to work in an international
environment because of professional and cultural aspects,
said Maj. Van der Molen, before joining his colleagues. The double
door closes on him without a creak.
Nations of SFOR: UK, Netherland