Robert Lusby - A week of vasectomies

Running time
2 min 31 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We did do some interesting exercises out at Liverpool where we would have sort of pretend casualties come in and clearing stations. And it was interesting really because you'd have a case station and someone would bring in something and we'd go through all the aspects of what you do to revive them and prepare them for theatre and maybe even take them to theatre. And it would be all over in 10, 20 minutes. Whereas in reality it's hours, which we learned. If you made your calculations based on how prep we would wear.

The Australian military hadn't been engaged really since Vietnam. So there's a big gap between experience and what we were then. We developed an operating theatre that was in a container. The concept being you could put it on a Herc and fly it anywhere. And it would open up and it could be used within 24 hours or so, it was an operating theatre. So I was involved in that to some extent and it had an anaesthetic theatre or preparation bay and a recovery. So three containers and you sort of had a little mini operating suite. To try it out they wanted to have some genuine patients.

So they took us down to Shepparton and there's a paddock there somewhere and set it up. And then they needed real patients. Now, where do you get real patients that come into a paddock? I think it was Dookie Agricultural College. Well, there were a lot of people in the army in Melbourne waiting for vasectomies. So we did a week of vasectomies to put it through all its paces. So it wasn't quite preparation for military wounds, but it was getting a feel for working for these people who many of whom actually turned up in Rwanda because we came from all sorts of backgrounds to Rwanda. It wasn't a unit per se or the medical side of it wasn't, it was put together by people with expertise from various states and various backgrounds, therefore it was Navy and Army really.

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