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MacDill medical team heading to Haiti

TAMPA — A MacDill Air Force Base medical team is heading to Haiti to assist in relief efforts after the earthquake.

The mobile aeromedical staging facility team was supposed to leave at 2 a.m. Monday, said Mark Graff, a MacDill spokesman, but its departure was delayed by a mechanical problem with its plane. The team rescheduled, with plans to leave overnight Monday.

The 13-person team specializes in hard-to-reach locations, Graff said. It prepares injured patients who require an evacuation flight and takes them somewhere where they can receive advanced care.

Duties include stabilizing patients for a flight and starting an IV, among other things, he said. The team is also equipped to handle administrative tasks, such as maintaining patient records.

Once it takes off, the medical team's eventual stay in Haiti could be anywhere from a week to a couple of weeks, he said.

"I think they've got enough supplies with them to last for a week," he said.

They are prepared to go just about anywhere in the world, excluding combat zones, he said.

"As long as the place is safe, they'll get 'em there as soon as they can," Graff said.

Meanwhile, Tampa International Airport, along with other Florida airports, is on standby to receive evacuees from Haiti if needed. The airport called two emergency planning meetings on Saturday to discuss various procedures for bringing in Haitian refugees.

Evacuees may be healthy or in need of medical attention, and some may be coming without proper identification. Airport officials said they could receive only a two-hour advance notice of aircraft arrival.

MacDill medical team heading to Haiti 01/18/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 18, 2010 10:07pm]
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