Army Eyes Operating Room in a Box
edited by Robert H. Williams
Army officials at Fort Detrick, Md., are checking out a novel telemedicine
test bed, developed by Y12 National Security Company at Oak Ridge Reservation,
Tenn. The 8-foot by 8-foot by 20-foot operating room is packed in a standard
shipping container. When needed by medical personnel in a combat zone, it can
be deployed at the push of a button, the company claims.
The system runs off a 24-volt battery, standard in most military vehicles.
After being activated, the shipping container morphs into a rectangular room
in one and a half minutes, explained an Army spokesman. “It looks like
a cicada coming out.”
The prototype operating room, which was designed from scratch, also has built-in
protection from chemical and biological agents. It comprises one of three components
of the future medical shelter system program. The other two are vehicles to
carry the shelter and tents that are supported by air beam frames.
Two other companies—Mobile Medical, of Vermont, and EADS Dornier, of
Germany—are working on the medical shelter program.
The current medical structure is packaged in two boxes and requires considerably
more time and effort to assemble.