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Air Heroes 3: First female medical technician in Taiwan's military

Air Heroes 3: First female medical technician in Taiwan's military

By Elaine Hou, CNA staff reporter Dressed in an orange flight suit, Tech. Sgt. Luo Hsiu-wen (???) was the only woman in a five-member crew getting ready to board a rescue helicopter at the Air Force base in Taiwan's Chiayi County as they were undergoing a regular training drill to airlift people who are stranded. Luo is the first-ever female medical technician in the Air Force's Air Rescue Group, which was established in 1954. Her experience in joining girl scout clubs in both high school and in university sparked her interest in pursuing a career in the military after graduation, she said. With her desire to challenge herself and save people's lives, she decided to sign up to take the test to become one of the Air Rescue Group's medical technicians after seeing the recruitment advertisement. Surprised to find herself the only woman to take the test, Luo still managed to pass the examination in 2011. She became a qualified medical technician in the same year after having gone through six months of rigorous training with the group. Recalling the training period, she said she did not receive any preferential treatment because she was the only woman. "Although it was a tough challenge, I still managed to finish it," the 31-year-old told CNA in an interview. "Being able to save people's live makes me feel proud of myself," she said, adding that her parents also took pride in her. Looking back to the four years of service in the Air Rescue Group, Luo cited as the most unforgettable experience the mission to transport a woman suffering severe brain injuries from the outlying island of Penghu to Taiwan proper last year so that the patient could receive further treatment. The patient was injured during a deadly plane crash in Penghu in July 2014, and Luo was dispatched on the mission to transport her back to Taiwan. To reduce the pressure in the patient's brain, her cranial bones had been taken out and kept in an ice case, Luo said, adding that the crew had to discuss every detail of the mission to avoid any deterioration of the patient's condition. During the flight, the two military medical technicians on board needed to carefully observe the condition of the patient, and the pilots needed to fly the helicopter at an altitude lower than the average of 3,000 feet and avoid making big turns, she added. "We needed to make a record of her vitals every five minutes," Luo said. Although a doctor and a nurse were also on the helicopter, she still felt very nervous. She was never that nervous while on a rescue mission, Luo recalled. Not until the helicopter landed at the airport in Taichung did she feel relieved. The only woman in the group's some 30 medical technicians, Luo has proved that she is not inferior to her male colleagues. Commenting on the group's first female medical technician, Col. Chen Mei-huang (???), head of the group, gave a thumbs-up to Luo. Medical technicians play an important part in a rescue mission, said Chen, who is a pilot. After the pilots fly the helicopter to the target area, it is medical technicians who are responsible for airlifting the injured or the needed, he said. "I am also hoping that more women will join us," Chen said. Passion for saving people's lives and strong physical capabilities are required, Luo said. "If you aren't strong enough, you may need others to come to your rescue," she said.


Updated : 2021-09-25 04:38 GMT+08:00