Monday, 27 October 2008
The Importance of First Aid Knowledge in Every Soldiers and Officers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRST AID IN EVERY SOLDIERS AND OFFICERS. If all my men had known the basics of life-saving first-aid knowledge, one of my men’s life could have been saved that one fateful night. He had accidentally shot himself in the thigh. It was just a mere flesh wound but because none of his friends and platoon commander knew how to apply the first-aid treatment to stop the bleeding, the poor soldier died on the way to a rendezvous some 15 map squares away (about 15 kilometers)! It was a most regrettable incident, which happened at the wrong place and at the wrong time. My Company of 3rd Rangers was given a sector in the most difficult area in the Kinta District of Perak. As usual, I broke up the Company into three groups so that I could effectively search my area of responsibility. Each of the groups made their own way to their sub-sectors right from the debussing point. By about 5 pm, they stopped for the night and started to make their overnight base. With a parang in one hand and his M16 in the other, this soldier went to cut some wood for his basha. He tripped and his M16 went off. He was shot in the thigh. I was frantically trying to get a helicopter to evacuate him before last light but failed. Night flying was impossible as there was not enough light for the helicopter to fly in. I was, at that time about 10 map squares (about 10 kilometers) from the platoon. For me to move and meet up with them was like looking for a football 10 kilometers away. It was made more impossible at night. What else could I do but to tell the platoon to wait for daylight the next day and meantime to treat the wounded soldier with first-aid as best as they could! By about 9 or 10 p.m. that night, the platoon commander radioed me – the soldier’s condition was deteriorating and they had to bring him out on a stretcher to the nearest motorable track which was about 15 map squares away! So, armed with torch lights and machettes, they carried the poor soldier through the mountainous jungle in the pitch-dark night. It was no easy task and needed their sheer determination. It was a whole night move and by the time they reached the rendezvous, the poor soldier was dead. He had lost too much blood! The question that had always haunted me was: could his life be saved if his comrades knew how to apply and administer the right first-aid without having to move him 15 kilometers through the difficult terrain in the pitch-dark night? I think, this was a classic example of the importance of first-aid. Every soldier must know how to treat all common sicknesses, fractures and wounds suffered in battles or in operational areas. It should be a must, if we want to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. First-aid knowledge must be made compulsory to all soldiers and officers. It should be incorporated into rank promotion examinations.