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Resolute Sentinel 21: Anesthesiologists play critical role in life-changing surgeries

U.S. military doctors arrived in Choluteca for a urologic surgical readiness exercise to provide essential surgeries to pre-selected Honduran patients.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kimpreet Kaur, an anesthesiologist with the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, uses a timer on her phone to calculate fluids for a patient during surgery at Hospital del Sur in Choluteca, Honduras, May 21, 2021. U.S. military doctors arrived in Choluteca for a urologic surgical readiness exercise to provide essential surgeries to pre-selected Honduran patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Stanford)

U.S. military doctors arrived in Choluteca for a urologic surgical readiness exercise to provide essential surgeries to pre-selected Honduran patients.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Dan Sehrt, an anesthesiologist with the 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, prepares to intubate a patient before surgery at Hospital del Sur in Choluteca, Honduras, May 21, 2021. Resolute Sentinel 21 is a training opportunity with real-world benefits to increase the U.S. military’s medical and operational readiness while helping local citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Stanford)

U.S. military doctors arrived in Choluteca for a urologic surgical readiness exercise to provide essential surgeries to pre-selected Honduran patients.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kimpreet Kaur, an anesthesiologist with the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, anesthetizes a patient before surgery at Hospital del Sur in Choluteca, Honduras, May 21, 2021. Military engagements like Resolute Sentinel 21 strengthen the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Honduras and carry on the legacy of previous exercises like New Horizons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Stanford)

CHOLUTECA, Honduras --

The anesthesiologists attached to the team of U.S. military medical professionals deployed to Honduras in support of Resolute Sentinel 21 play a critical role in the life-changing surgeries being provided.

Without anesthesia, surgeries would be longer operations and put the patients under extreme stress.

“The job of an anesthesiologist is simple: we make sure patients stay safe during the preoperative period from a cardiopulmonary perspective,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Dan Sehrt, an anesthesiologist with the 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “We accomplish this while doing our best to minimize their pain from some of the larger, more invasive surgeries.”

While anesthesia plays a vital role in all surgeries regardless of country, the surgeries being conducted in Choluteca offer their own challenges for the doctors that anesthesia needs to overcome.

“With limited resources and equipment that is vastly different from what we use in the states, it takes a highly-skilled anesthesiologist to be safe, but innovative, to ensure we accomplish our surgical goals,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Baumgartner, the Resolute Sentinel 21 surgical readiness training exercise (SURGRETE) team chief. “Thankfully, our team of resident and staff anesthesiologists have been adapting and overcoming these unique challenges to ensure patient safety during our surgeries.”

While the surgeries have challenges, this has been an opportunity for the anesthesia team to hone their skills and expand their skillsets which sets them up for future deployments.

“When we work in garrison, we have additional doctors, technicians and machines available if something goes wrong,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kimpreet Kaur, an anesthesiologist with the 59th Medical Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. “These limited conditions help prepare us for what we might see if we deploy downrange in the future, which in turn will help us save countless lives.”

As the team begins their second week of surgeries, a number of members have expressed their gratitude for the hospital and local patients for allowing them the opportunity to conduct these surgeries.

“Being here has been an incredible experience,” said U.S. Army Spc. Estrella Avila, an operating technician with the Forward Surgical Section, Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. “We’ve been able to come together as a team from across the Americas and provide high-quality care to the patients here - I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.”

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