Prototype hospital tested at Fort Benning - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Prototype hospital tested at Fort Benning

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

Hundreds of soldiers and doctors from all over the country are on Fort Benning for a special project. They're testing out a prototype hospital that could revolutionize medical care for the military.

"We can do just about everything a traditional brick and mortar in the civilian world can do," Executive officer of the 14th Combat Hospital Major Jeffery Hogue said.

The prototype is called the Force Provider Expeditionary Medical System. It's basically a hospital in a tent but that's not the best part, it's all supported by air. Think of being inside a bounce moonwalk, without the bounce.

The 14th Combat Support Hospital is the second unit to try it out using real life scenarios.

"[Inflating the tents] takes 15 or 20 minutes. Whereas in the old facility, it [takes] more manpower to put up. It's a metal frame tent so it takes a little longer to establish," said Major Hogue.

What use to take upwards three days of hard labor, now with a steady flow of air, they can be up and running in one day.

Iraqi veteran and registered nurse Captain Jennifer Esparza says in combat, time is of the essence.

"Being able to treat a patient between three days and one day is very, very big deal," said Captain Esparza. "It will save lives ultimately if you are in a mass casualty situation. Three days is huge in medicine. It really is between life and death."

The hospital has the capability to treat 248 patients. At full capacity it spans close to six acres. Inside, space seems limited but for Captain Esparza there's plenty of room.

"As little as this seems, this is very spacious compared to what we're use to and because everything is mobile, you can move things around," said Captain Esparza.

"The goal here is to test how fast it went up and more importantly how we operate inside the facility," said Major Hogue.

They are able to transport patients on rolling gurneys, and take x-rays all under the comfort of central heating and air.

If you're wondering how they take it all down, Major Hogue equates it to pulling the tab on a beach ball; then they fold it up and ship out.

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