The Army today unveiled its radically new concept of field hospitalization in a demonstration here of the MUST (Medical Unit Self-contained Transportable) at Brooke Army Medical Centre.
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Background: The Army today unveiled its radically new concept of field hospitalization in a demonstration here of the MUST (Medical Unit Self-contained Transportable) at Brooke Army Medical Centre. Among the several hundred witnessing the demonstration were key Department of Defense and Federal medical agency officials, civic and industrial leaders, and members of the communications media.
The purpose of the demonstration was to:
. Introduce a new level of medical effectiveness in the support of combat forces achieved by reducing the restraints imposed by time, weather, and terrain.
. Share the experience and knowledge gained with civilian medical officials who feel the MUST concept may have application to medical problems of remote areas, natural disasters and civil defense.
. Invite constructive criticism. The caliber of the government, industry, medical and military participants provides a unique opportunity to exchange views and strengthen the MUST concept.
. Demonstrate individual MUST elements for guests who have indicated that selected elements may have application to non-military problems requiring a controlled environment.
. Express the appreciation of the Army Medical Service for the outstanding achievements of the many dedicated, highly skilled members of the Industry Team that created the MUST.
The MUST unit consists of a combination expandable shelter shipping container, a ward-type inflatable shelter, and a self-contained utility system providing electric power, air conditioning, heating, hot and cold running water, and waste water service. Its elements are compact, lightweight, easily moveable, and by combining equipped functional elements can be assembled into the various types of field hospitals.
The expandable container features modern facilities for performing the most complex and delicate surgical operations. It can fold into a compact package with serves as a shipping container and holds all equipment. It can be carried by a 2 1/2 ton truck or mounted on detachable highway transporters for towing, is air transportable by cargo aircraft, and can be moved by helicopter.
The hospital ward container holds an inflatable ward shelter capable of providing intensive medical treatment for 20 combat casualties together with all basic hospital ward equipment. Two wards can be carried on a 2 1/2 ton truck.
The utility element weighing 3,600 pounds is designed around a gas turbine engine that can furnish 85 kilowatts of 400 cycle electric power generation. It has also the capability of furnishing 10 kilowatts of 60 cycles current, and can maintain 4 ward elements or 11 surgical elements at a temperature of 65 degree F at -65 degree F ambient and at 80 degree F at 140 degree ambient. This unit will also provide ward element inflation air, hot and cold running water, and waste water disposal services.
The utility element, 5 feet 10 inches wide, 8 feet 8 inches long, and 7 feet 4 inches high, also has storage space for air ducts, electric cables, and water distribution hoses. When in transport, it is secured on a M-104 trailer of M-35 truck, and can be operated either on or off these vehicles.
Principal advantages of the system are that it will provide a world-wide operating capability under any environmental condition, improve medical treatment capability, allow maximum use of physicians' and nurses' skills, and increase mobility of combat support units.
In outfitting the MUST, the American Hospital Supply Corporation has developed new items of equipment, refined and adapted other components, and devised new methods of storing and handling supplies.
To increase the effectiveness of the various MUST elements under field conditions, equipment and parts have been standardized to make the most efficient use of space. Storage cabinets for example, are the same in the surgery, laboratory, and central material supply elements. Other standard item developed include folding work tables, a double sink unit, and plastic "tote boxes" designed for storing and transporting supplies within the hospital. These boxes slide in and out of cabinets, stack without tipping, and nest to conserve space.
An all-new operating table highlights the special equipment designed by American for the MUST's surgery element. Lightweight yet sturdy, the table adjusts to all nine standard surgical positions, and had the unique feature of stability found only before in tables used in fixed medical installations. This stability is provided by its unusual base--a ballast tank filled with 100 pounds of water that can be drained or removed by vacuum when the table is transported. Complete with accessories, the table weighs less than 200 pounds. Folded for shipping, it forms a 28 X 28 X 23 inch package.
Illumination for the surgical field consists of a light that operates on 24 volts furnished by trickle-charged batteries. Each of the three four-source light heads delivers a minimum of 1,500 foot-candles at the surgical field. Ceiling-suspended from adjustable arms, the lights are mounted independently to illuminate more adequately one or more surgical sites, a common need during combat conditions.
Defense contractors involved in the demonstration were the Garret-AiResearch Corporation, which was the prime contractor responsible for the design and development of all basic elements including the environmental control components of the MUST, and the American Hospital Supply Corporation, which designed and developed the majority of the medical equipment for use with the MUST.
Part I of the demonstration showed the need for combat support hospitals i.e., the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and the Evacuation Hospital by demonstration depicting the field medical service in support of elements of the Field Army. It portrayed the roll of the medical service and the medical service and the impact of battlefield use of tactical nuclear weapons. Additionally, the demonstration realistically reflected the type and nature of casualties produced by modern weapon systems as well as the problems involved in the collection, emergency care and evacuation of the combat wounded.
Part II showed the MUST equipment established adjacent to an Evacuation Hospital equipped with currently authorized equipment. Guests were conducted on a tour of key elements of each hospital. The demonstration and the tour provided an opportunity to compare the capabilities of the MUST with those of the current hospital.
AiResearch Manufacturing Co., a division of Garret Corp. of Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded a $1.7 million contract on June 28, 1963 to develop and produce a limited number of MUST prototypes because of its experience in developing and fabricating similar environmental control equipment used for space and missile applications. In addition, the ward element in the MUST is a modified version of an inflated tube structure developed and produced by Garret for the U. S. Army Pershing Missile System.
Due to the battery operation, there is no loss of surgical light if the normal electrical current is interrupted.
Other items specially designed for the MUST operating room include a single piece of equipment that serves a four-fold purpose as instrument stand, basin stand, backtable, and kick bucket; and a double-basin scrub sink whose hot and cold running water facilities are controlled by knee mixing-valves.
For the MUST laboratory two special refrigerators were fashioned--one provides the controlled temperatures of the blood bank, the other the different temperature range required for biologicals. Electrical power is fed them during times of storage and transit as well as during operation. An emergency power source is also available to maintain refrigeration should the current fail.
Among the other improvements in the laboratory are a drying oven and incubator that have been built into the MUST cabinetry.