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Report of the 20th NATO Maritime Medical Conference



Venice, Italy

16-19 May, 2017



Report of the 20th NATO Maritime Medical Conference

The 20th NATO Maritime Medical Conference was held from 16 to 19 May 2017 at the Venice Navy Yard.

This conference is organized by Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) with the support of the Italian Navy Health Services Inspectorate. The medical conference occurred in conjunction with the 44th NATO Medical Naval Panel Plenary, which discusses naval medicine topics to update NATO doctrine.

Medical personnel, with a high number of Navy Surgeons General, from 23 countries (Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, and the United States) participated in the conference.

MARCOM Deputy Commander, Vice Admiral Bruno Palmier, Italian Navy Health Services Inspector, Rear Admiral Enrico Mascia and MARCOM Medical Advisor and Conference Chair, Capt Filippo La Rosa provided opening remarks for the conference.

The presentations from the opening day offered planning insights for medical officers with historical references to at sea injuries from torpedo and missile attacks and potential future areas of conflict from terrorism to humanitarian response from seismic activity. Additional presentations throughout the week included topics ranging from geographic challenges and joint medical services for maritime medical support to various medical updates and emerging changes in training, health surveillance, diving medicine and telemedicine capabilities.

Two of the geographical areas featured were the Pacific Ocean and the polar/high north regions. While the regional medical conditions of hypothermia to heat stroke are on opposing ends of the spectrum for exposure injuries, the areas similarly face the challenge of vast distances to land and accessibility to medical rescue resources.

One area the U.S. Navy medical community is looking into is the capability of providing sustained and distributed medical support at sea, especially in war time conditions. In addition to informing attendees about the evolution of SMER techniques, the Turkish medical representative shared the Turkish Navy’s new capabilities for submarine rescue emphasizing the importance of a globally coordinated response for distressed submarines via the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office.

The Conference was a success thanks to the attendance of participants and to their willingness to share best practices along with their future concerns.

The next Conference will be organized in Bergen, Norway during the week from 23 to 27 April 2018 and it is expected a high rate of participation of NATO and Non NATO nations.