U.S. Special Forces trains combat medics at Grady Hospital

Grady Memorial Hospital is the only civilian hospital in the country that has formed a partnership with the U.S. Army Special Forces to provide additional, formal instruction and preparation for its Green Beret Special Operations Combat Medics, according to a press release from the health center.

“Grady knows service—every year the Marcus Trauma Center sees up to 7000 activations, and our Emergency Department has more than 145,000 visits. We treat everything from the routine to the extreme. It’s a unique and challenging experience for the SOCM community,” said Trauma Chief Dr. Mark Shapiro.

Officially called Mountain Path, medics are deployed on several rotations in the hospital, including burn, emergency medicine, orthopedics, surgical critical care, and trauma.

Grady takes up to two 18 Delta’s or combat support medics at a time, who stay for a two to four-week period, covering shifts ranging from 12 to 30 hours.

Green Berets often endure prolonged missions, and have additional training in veterinary care, anesthesia, and surgery. When in austere environments, their amenities and equipment are very limited, and Grady teaches how to stabilize casualties until they can be brought to definitive surgical care, a spokesperson for SOCM said.

Through this partnership with Grady, Shapiro’s leadership provides training in prolonged field care. This is an intensive medical course designed to challenge small teams of medics by deploying them in remote locations without nearby surgical support or rapid access to air medical evacuation.

Shapiro recently instructed a 72-hour course with 15 medics, who performed multiple invasive procedures under challenging conditions in coastal, mountain and rural environments.

“Medics’ skills can atrophy when they go months without being in a medical environment. With direct supervision, education and feedback, as well as the hands-on practice, their skills set is kept active,” said Shapiro.