Physician enjoys role as â€˜SWAT docâ€™
By Camille Hughes Guard Staff Writer
Holding a police radio in a hand thatâ€™s more accustomed to the cool metal of a stethoscope, local physician Doug Bernard has officially become a â€œSWAT doc.â€?
While a career in medicine might be enough to keep most people busy, Bernard is definitely not â€œmostâ€? people. The 43-year old family practice physician also plays guitar and sings in the band Doghouse, and it was that gig that first introduced him to the Independence County Sheriffâ€™s Department Special Weapons and Tactics team.
â€œDoghouse was playing at a local bikersâ€™ fundraiser to help raise money for bullet proof vests for the SWAT team,â€? Bernard said. â€œThe community stood behind us and we were able to raise almost $25,000 for vests for these guys.
â€œI just have so much respect for the officers,â€? he continued. â€œI felt it was a good organization to be a part of.â€?
According to Bernard, the team â€œtook him inâ€? the very first day and it was a real learning experience.
â€œWhat surprised me the most is the amount of equipment they carry,â€? he said. â€œYou have to be in really good shape!â€?
â€œMembers carry an average of 60 pounds of material,â€? said David Payne, SWAT team member and first aid trainer. â€œThe medics carry an additional 35 pounds of equipment.â€?
Payne, who is also an Emergency Medical Technician, said that tactical medics carry enough equipment to be able to cover any situation that might arise.
â€œWe want to keep the person alive until the situation is safe and we can get them out of there,â€? Payne said. â€œSo we carry everything from Band-Aids to cardiac meds and blow-out kits.â€?
According to Payne, the addition of tactical medics has made a huge difference in the number of casualties during an operation.
Tactical Emergency Medical Services is defined by the International School of Tactical Medicine as the delivery of emergency medical services at military and law enforcement special operations.
â€œDuring World War I, 70 percent of traumatic injuries resulted in casualties,â€? Payne said. â€œNow in Iraq, that number is down to seven percent. We are able to get to the injured quickly and give them immediate care.
â€œWe are really fortunate to have Dr. Bernard as a member of our team,â€? he continued. â€œThis way we have his medical expertise right on hand. We train a lot and we train hard for all situations,â€? he added. â€œI just hope we never have to see how good we really are.â€?
According to Bernard, physicians and law enforcement have the same goal â€” to serve the public and keep everyone safe, â€œThe first priority to all of us is to preserve life,â€? he said.
But itâ€™s not all about training and life and death situations. Bernard said that he also enjoys the community events the SWAT team is involved with.
â€œLast year the team met with 4-H members and taught them about land navigation and how to use a compass,â€? he said. â€œThey went to the local competition after that and got first place.â€?
Bernard said that he likes the challenge, the teamwork and the camaraderie of being a member of the SWAT team.
â€œWe train hard so that each member is proficient and feels comfortable with the other members of the team,â€? he said. â€œWe know that everyone is going to be there doing the right thing at the right time.
â€œI didnâ€™t fully understand the meaning of teamwork until I met these guys,â€? he continued. â€œI would go into battle with any of them.â€?