NRU Asterix medical capabilities

Lt(N) Drake (left, foreground) leads a casualty treatment exercise onboard MV Asterix. LS Stowell (right, foreground) applies a blood pressure cuff while MS Peer (Left) and MS Robillard (right) look on.

Enhanced medical and dental capabilities return to the Fleet

By Capt Chris Dare,
Dental Officer, NRU Asterix

Toothache while at sea? Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix can take care of that!

Since the decommissioning of the last Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessel in 2016, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has been without a ship-borne dental clinic or dental officer. With the launch and deployment of MV Asterix in January 2018 and its embarked CAF personnel, NRU Asterix, the RCN has re-established its full medical and dental capabilities while at sea.

On the medical side, NRU Asterix employs not only a Physician Assistant and Medical Technician, as many sailors are accustomed to onboard a Canadian Patrol Frigate (CPF), but also a medical officer. A doctor onboard, with their expanded scope of practice, allows for a greater ability to treat the many ailments that sailors may encounter over the course of their deployment. The medical officer also acts as the senior medical authority for the ships sailing in consort with MV Asterix, affording medical teams onboard nearby CPFs sound and timely advice. The ship also has portable x-ray and ultrasound equipment that further enhance our capabilities when a Medical Radiography Technician is embarked.

MV Asterix features a well-designed and capable medical facility. In addition to two offices/examination rooms there is a trauma bay, a five bed hospital-style ward, x-ray suite and pharmacy. The trauma bay is designed to allow for a surgical team to embark and perform surgeries onboard giving the platform further mission-specific capabilities. MV Asterix is also capable of responding to humanitarian aid and disaster response operations.

“My team is privileged to work in Asterix’s modern medical facility and I’m pleased the RCN has a new platform to allow CAF Medical Officers to deploy, once again, to sea,” said Lt(N) Drake, the Medical Officer aboard NRU Asterix

In terms of dental services, MV Asterix features a full dental operatory, complete with a dental x-ray, sterilization and dental lab space.  On board, a dental team comprised of a dental officer and dental technician can provide a wide range of dental treatment while at sea.  Whether it is simple fillings, tooth extractions or root canals, the dental clinic is able to perform almost all of the services sailors would expect from a shore based clinic. Being able to provide dental treatment at sea makes the fleet more operationally effective as our sailors no longer have to endure dental problems until the next port.

As MV Asterix continues its operations in the Pacific and around the world, both Canadian sailors and our allies can rest assured that NRU Asterix’s medical and dental teams are ready to help.