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Penn State Hershey offering medical support at battle reenactment

During the Battle of Gettysburg, wounded soldiers were often rushed to hospital tents, which were not exactly state-of-the-art medical facilities by modern standards.

As re-enactors take to the battlefield this week and tens of thousands of spectators come out to watch them, accommodations for those who sustain actual injuries or become ill are considerably more modern than they were 150 years ago.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center's LionReach, a 53-foot air-conditioned trailer outfitted with more than a dozen beds, is on-site at the festivities in Adams County. It will be staffed 24 hours a day by a combination of Medical Center personnel and members of a regional emergency task force.

Nancy Campbell, R.N., program coordinator for LionReach, says patients will first be assessed at battlefield triage centers. Those requiring further treatment will be brought to the LionReach trailer. Campbell says personnel are ready to treat a wide range of ailments, including heat exhaustion.

“With reenactors marching around in wool uniforms, the weather could certainly be a factor,” Campbell says. “But we're just hoping for the best.”

In addition to LionReach, one of Penn State Hershey's Life Lion aircraft will stage at Hanover Hospital for part of the week, ready to provide air medical support as needed.

“Our hope is that everything will run smoothly, but we'll be ready just in case,” says Dr. Jeffrey Lubin, division chief of transport medicine, Penn State Hershey Life Lion. “They're ready for anything, from severe trauma to cardiac arrest to anything in between.”

Some Life Lion EMS vehicles are also on-site, along with several Penn State Hershey physicians, nurses and EMS personnel who are volunteering their time to care for patients.

“We're glad to team up with other medical personnel at this important event as our region marks a historic milestone,” Campbell says.

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