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Med team trains with Chilean air force medics

Capt. (Dr.) Dale Capener (left) administers anesthesia to a patient for a urologic procedure in the Chile Chico Hospital in the Patagonia region of Chile March 24. Captain Capener is a Wilford Hall Medical Center anesthesiologist and part of a team of 11 Air Force medics who participated in a medical readiness training exercise with the Chilean air force in March. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. (Dr.) Dale Capener (left) administers anesthesia to a patient for a urologic procedure in the Chile Chico Hospital in the Patagonia region of Chile March 24. Captain Capener is a Wilford Hall Medical Center anesthesiologist and part of a team of 11 Air Force medics who participated in a medical readiness training exercise with the Chilean air force in March. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. (Dr.) Jose Barrera, an ear, nose and throat physician, examines a patient in the otolaryngology clinic at the Chile Chico hospital in the Patagonia region of Chile March 24. Major Barrera was part of a team of 11 Air Force medics from the 59th Medical Wing who participated in a medical readiness training exercise with 31 Chilean air force medics. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. (Dr.) Jose Barrera, an ear, nose and throat physician, examines a patient in the otolaryngology clinic at the Chile Chico hospital in the Patagonia region of Chile March 24. Major Barrera was part of a team of 11 Air Force medics from the 59th Medical Wing who participated in a medical readiness training exercise with 31 Chilean air force medics. (U.S. Air Force photo)

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- A team of 11 Air Force medics from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center here participated in a medical readiness training exercise, or MEDRETE, with 31 Chilean air force medics in March.

"This was clearly different from a routine 'humanitarian mission' as surgical subspecialty care was provided to a pre-screened population of indigenous residents," said Col. (Dr.) Leon Kundrotas, 59th Medical Operations Squadron commander, who led the team to Chile.

Based on the needs of the pre-screened patients, the medical center team was handpicked and composed of dentists, specialty physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists and dermatologists.

The combined team performed more than 800 procedures. Some procedures were done in Chile Chico in the Patagonia region of the country, and others were done in a remote location. The team provided locals with specialty care that they would otherwise have to travel more than 100 miles to receive.

"There was a huge exchange of information and training. We learned from them, they learned from us, which benefits patient care on both ends," said Colonel Kundrotas. "The team was enthusiastic and motivated; they treated rare conditions, learned to improvise, and just had a great experience with the Chileans."

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