Dark Angel Medical
D.A.R.T 2: Bloody Boogaloo
D.A.R.T 2: Bloody Boogaloo
33,000 people die every year from preventable hemorrhaging. I’d wager that most of us have seen far more motor vehicle accidents and witnessed more workplace mishaps than we have shootings or been in them ourselves. Medical training far and away is one of the absolute hardest to get students to attend. Apparently the thought of getting into extended gunfights on the streets of the USA with your Taurus Judge is totally reasonable but a traumatic injury occurring is completely inconceivable. Car accidents, active shootings, workplace injuries etc. are far more common but taking medical classes are less sexy and they don’t do well as well as pocket dumps on the grams. Rant aside, medical training is essential if you even remotely believe in being prepared or ‘well rounded’ and is likely going to save you or someone else far more often than your uber blaster 6000.
Dark Angel Medical is owned by Kerry Davis, a former USAF Flight medic and current trauma nurse (Murse?) with decades of experience treating trauma and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet to boot. The rest of the cadre consisted of Mike, a former AFSOC independent duty Medical Technician and Ross, a former US Navy Corpsman and current EMS provider who both bring decades of additional GWOT and medical experience to the table. You can tell their passion for their craft immediately and the knowledge they possess is unparalleled. That coupled with their uncanny ability to teach and what you end up with is an outstanding, easy to digest but information packed curriculum that can be applied to pretty much anyone who functions in day to day society and would like to be an asset to themselves, loved ones and society. While their experience was evident, it was never crammed down our throats like “Hey, I’m former MIL/SOF/EMS so STFU and listen to me!” The cadre didn’t have to sell us their backgrounds as it was obvious through their teaching that they knew what they were talking about.
D.A.R.T 2 is a continuation on their flagship class D.A.R.T (Direct Action Response Training). It is heavily based on skills performed under stress. My prior medical training consists of some TCCC/TECC training and BLS. It was just enough to get me into the class and I never felt lost but I highly encourage anyone thinking about attending this class to go through D.A.R.T 1 first. Regardless, some type of TCCC/TECC background is a must or you’re going to drown and gain absolutely nothing. D.A.R.T 2 is not what you take as your first medical class. Its intent is to teach you more advanced techniques for certain injuries and to run you through scenario after scenario, gradually getting more complex and dynamic as they go. Induced stress is the name of the game for this class.
Day 1 consisted of about 4 hours of refresher training, going over any change in practices that may have been taught in prior classes, brushing us up on HABCDE (basically M.A.R.C.H), new devices and new more advanced techniques. This was very welcome and the inclusion of some workshops allowed us to get some hands on time brushing up on perishable skills such as wound packing, NPA application etc. before we moved onto scenarios. The 2nd half of the day shifted gears into scenarios such as treating injuries sustained from shooty stabby things while the patient is screaming, car accidents etc. The Dark Angel crew followed the crawl, walk, run formula throughout the weekend easing into the madness that they had planned. Not to say that things were easy to start out, if you didn’t know what you were doing, it wouldn’t be long before you were in over your head. That being said, there was a great instructor to student ratio and they were always nearby to give you a quick hint if things were falling off the rails. Day 1 ended with a debrief and then we were off to dinner.
On Day 2 we hit the ground running. Moulage was introduced and we started the day treating “live” injuries complete with screaming and blood. Amputations, sucking chest wounds, multiple injuries etc. You name it, it was there. Once we all got enough hands on time handling each different type of injury, the scenarios grew more and more complex. Soon we were dealing with absolute carnage. We worked on our own, in teams, some of us having to treat multiple patients at once. I’m not going to get too far into the scenarios themselves because I don’t want to give too much away, but let's just say things escalated to the point where we were entering buildings and performing rescues, triaging, dealing with active shootings, experiencing gunfire etc. The cadre did a great job of gradually turning up the heat throughout the day. You worked all of the skills you were taught and are likely to encounter in a tragedy should you face one. I could immediately tell that a lot of thought was put into this class and I was amazed by how smoothly it all went being that this was DART 2’s maiden voyage. The training was as realistic as it gets without shooting, stabbing or running people over for realsies.
All in all, this class was EXACTLY what I was expecting. When I signed up for DART 2, I was looking for something that was going to give me as many hands on scenarios as possible and crank up the stress levels and that is exactly what the crew at Dark Angel Medical delivered. If you have prior qualifying medical training, this is the class you need to take. We can have all of the gear in the world but without the skills and continuous training to back it up, the gear is useless. Make yourself and those around you harder to kill whether it be intentional or mishap and further your medical training.