Surgeon in navy medical exercise

EXERCISE Surgeon Commander Barrie Dekker, right
EXERCISE Surgeon Commander Barrie Dekker, right
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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A ROYAL Navy consultant anaesthetist based at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital has taken part in a medical exercise to prepare Royal Marines for combat.

Surgeon Commander Barrie Dekker was one of 53 clinicians on the Royal Navy Medical Services’ first major field exercise in five years at RMB Chivenor in Devon.

Called Exercise Green Serpent, the aim was for the medics to prepare 45 Commando Royal Marines for their new role as a high-readiness unit – one that reacts quickly to events such as in Libya last year.

Surg Cdr Dekker, who served in Afghanistan last year, said the exercise was about running a basic mobile field hospital rather than using the state-of-the-art facilities at Camp Bastion Hospital.

He said: ‘It is not about keeping a patient in and doing extensive surgery – it is about life and limb-saving surgery.

‘Here we could just be putting clamps on someone’s legs to stop bleeding, for example, before they are then evacuated for further treatment at a hospital.’