This week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., was able to amend the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to have the U.S. Defense Department look at how it offers emergency medical services as military bases.

The NDAA cleared the House on Tuesday on a 295-125 vote.

Buchanan pointed to the death of SPC Nicholas Panipinto of Bradenton. Panipinto died in a training accident at Camp Humphreys in South Korea last November when the vehicle he was driving overturned.

In a letter sent last month to the chairmen and ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees and to U.S. Defense Sec. Mark Esper, Buchanan focused on Panipinto’s death and called for new safety and training protocols.

“The heartbreaking and very preventable death of my constituent SPC Nicholas Panipinto clearly shows that changes in training and safety procedures need to be made,” Buchanan said this week. “The serious deficiencies and failures identified in the report on SPC Panipinto’s death call for immediate reforms within the Department of Defense. I want to make sure that no family has to go through the pain and suffering that SPC Panipinto’s family has faced.”

Buchanan’s amendment would have the Defense Department “examine emergency response capabilities and services currently available at every U.S. military base around the world and to report to Congress on the potential benefits and feasibility of requiring bases to have properly functioning MedEvac helicopters and fully-stocked military ambulances.”

“The highest tribute that can be paid to the life of SPC Panipinto is that the Defense Department will make sure that future military personnel who are injured during training exercises can quickly receive high-quality medical treatment that might help save their lives,” Buchanan said.


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