Air Force

January 17, 2014

Aerospace Medicine – more than just doctors

Staff Sgt. Shane Lahaie, 820th REDHORSE power production journeyman, receives an eye exam during an occupational health exam Jan. 10 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. An eye exam assesses vision and ability to focus on and discern objects.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Aerospace medicine does more than keep aircrews fit to accomplish their day-to-day operations.

The 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron performs a number of operations ranging from certifying aircrew medically to responding to medical emergencies on the flightline. They are also responsible for certifying, maintaining and treating all pilots, aircrew and flightline workers in support of flying operations.

Although medicine is in the name, the squadron does much more than that, said Maj. (Dr.) Kenji Takano, 99th AMDS flight surgeon.

“It is medicine, but it’s also a lot of physiology and understanding of the occupational and physical stresses that [aircrew members] face out there,” he said.

One way AMDS Airmen accomplish this mission is by experiencing firsthand what the fliers go through mentally and physically through a variety of training opportunities.

“We also experience the [altitude chamber], where it simulates going up in elevation,” said Staff Sgt. Natllely Quintero, 99th AMDS aerospace medicine service technician. “We feel all the physiological symptoms and [gaseous changes] in our body.”

The altitude chamber provides a controlled environment where aircrews learn to recognize what their individual physiological responses are to a low oxygen environment.

Capt. (Dr.) Thomas Shute, 42nd Attack Squadron flight surgeon, listens to a patient’s breathing during a follow-up occupational health exam Jan. 10 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Flight surgeons are responsible for certifying, maintaining and treating all pilots, aircrew and flightline workers in support of flying operations.

The Airmen also get to conduct familiarization training with the various aircraft here in order to understand their differences.

“The key about flight surgeons is they fly with the units,” Takano said. “They hang out at the squadron, they fly with these guys, and they understand what these guys go through every day. “

This familiarization gives the flight surgeons a better understanding of what pilots’ bodies go through when flying, as well as giving the doctors an advantage in understanding the pilots’ needs.

According to Takano, Nellis is different from other bases in the fact that it has so many different airframes; ranging from HH-60 Pave Hawks to F-16 Fighting Falcons to F-15 Eagles to F-15E Strike Eagles to A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to F-22 Raptors to F-35 to F-35 Lighting IIs.

“An entire base is dedicated to the RPA mission,” the doctor said. “We take care of all the operators and flyers in those missions.”

Also, every aircraft causes its own type of medical issues.

“Fighter pilots have a lot of neck issues, [and] helo guys get a lot of back issues. There’s a lot of work related stressors and sleep issues that happen to our [RPA] community,” the doctor said. “Being deployed at home is not easy.”

Capt. (Dr.) Thomas Shute, 42nd Attack Squadron flight surgeon, explains multiple causes for hearing problems to Senior Airman Phou Johnson, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics technician, during a follow-up occupational health exam Jan. 10 at Nellis Air Force Base. Nev. hearing problems commonly occur from the improper use of cotton swabs in the ear.

The ability to see firsthand what aircrew experience really helps Quintero relate to them.

“I have a lot of respect for [pilots] and any flier as to what they do, what their bodies go through and their work,” she said. “It’s a lot of wear and tear on the body from hearing to their back.”

One reason aircrews receive so much wear and tear on their body is the environments they work in.

“The aviation environment is a very harsh environment – very loud, very cold,” Takano said. “For instance some of the altitudes those jets fly at … if the pilots were exposed to the environments at those altitudes, they would have seconds to live. For instance, I fly with the helo squadron, the 34th [Weapons Squadron], they fly HH-60s. It’s not just a helicopter ride like you see the news crews do where there talking about the traffic. It’s a lot of vibration, it’s a lot of temperature extremes, very cold to very hot.

“It’s hard on you; it’s not an easy place to function.”

The 99th AMDS uses all the tools they have available to keep Airmen safe and healthy.

“The Air Force has spent a lot of time and money to train these people to do what they do, and we have to work hard to keep them up there and insure flight safety,” Takano said. “Our overall mission is to keep the fliers flying.”

From first responder roles to actively participating in aerial flights and training, the 99th AMDS provides a support role to the Nellis and Creech aircrews in aim of their mission.
 

Senior Airman JaMicheal Smith, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace technician, conducts an eye exam on a patient Jan. 10 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Regular eye exams are conducted to ensure work related sight problems can be quickly found and treated.

 

Senior Airman Brandon Pawlak, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, leaves the Aerospace Medicine clinic Jan. 13 at Nellis Air Force Base. Nev. The 99th AMDS performs a number of operations ranging from certifying aircrew medically to responding to medical emergencies on the flightline.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

Nellis Airman garners 2013 Sijan Award

Courtesy photograph Senior Master Sgt. David DeLoney, 820th RED HORSE readiness and emergency management superintendent, poses for a photo at an undisclosed location. DeLoney earned the 2013 U.S. Air Force Lance P. Sijan Leader...
 
 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Why do I care? I worked for years in Florida in Child Protective Services. I obtained my Master of Social Work in 1996, and I have been a licensed clinical social worker since 2001. I saw children with marks and bruises after they had been beaten with objects. I saw...
 
 

Navy leadership visits Las Vegas Navy Reserves

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Las Vegas Navy Operational Support Center was honored to have Rear Adm. Bryan P. Cutchen, commander of the U.S. Naval Reserve Forces Command, as its special guest speaker during a recently conducted drill weekend. The distinguished guest was a beacon of inspiration for the 250 plus Navy reservists who...
 

 

Pulse on AF force management

WASHINGTON — New eligibility criteria, application deadlines and status updates are all featured in this force management update, an ongoing effort to bring Airmen the latest, most accurate information concerning the complex and dynamic force management programs. Additional TERA, VSP windows The Air Force will open two new fiscal year 2014 temporary early retirement authority...
 
 

AF opens additional TERA, VSP windows

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The Air Force will open two new fiscal year 2014 force management temporary early retirement authority application windows, and a new voluntary separation pay application window, Air Force Personnel Center officials said April 14. Commonly referred to as the 15-year retirement, TERA eligibility will be based on the updated...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Timothy Young

Military children receive support during hardships

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Timothy Young Tech. Sgt. Mike Hodges, 99th Medical Operations Squadron respiratory therapy technician, holds a horse while Anders Steinhiser, Lomie G. Heard Elementary School 1st grade s...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin