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JTF-Bravo treats more than 1,300 after earthquake in Peru

PISCO, Peru - Maj. Joseph Hallock, Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element pediatric nurse practitioner, checks the heartbeat of one of the patients at the medical relief site in Pisco, Peru. During the three-day mission, medical personnel provided care to more than 1,500 men, women and children. The task force deployed from Soto Cano Air Base Honduras, Aug. 17 to provide medical care to the people of Pisco following an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery)

PISCO, Peru - Maj. Joseph Hallock, Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element pediatric nurse practitioner, checks the heartbeat of one of the patients at the medical relief site in Pisco, Peru. During the three-day mission, medical personnel provided care to more than 1,500 men, women and children. The task force deployed from Soto Cano Air Base Honduras, Aug. 17 to provide medical care to the people of Pisco following an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery)

PISCO - Peru -- Crowds of people line up to receive medical care from members of Joint Task Force-Bravo from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, who deployed to Pisco, Peru.  The task force is providing medical humanitarian care to the people affected by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the region Aug. 15, causing major damage as well as killing and injuring numerous people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery.)

PISCO - Peru -- Crowds of people line up to receive medical care from members of Joint Task Force-Bravo from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, who deployed to Pisco, Peru. The task force is providing medical humanitarian care to the people affected by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the region Aug. 15, causing major damage as well as killing and injuring numerous people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery.)

From left, Senior Airman Shaun Emery, Army Specialist Jose Hernandez, Army Lt. Col. Eduardo Zarzabal and Tech. Sgt Mellisa Walker, from the Joint Task Force-Bravo medical humanitarian relief team, carry a woman from her home to the site of the team's medical care site. The task force deployed Aug. 17 to provide medical humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Pisco, Peru following an 8.0 magnitude earthquake Aug. 15. U.S. Army photo by Specialist Grant Vaught.

From left, Senior Airman Shaun Emery, Army Spc. Jose Hernandez, Army Lt. Col. Eduardo Zarzabal and Tech. Sgt Mellisa Walker, from the Joint Task Force-Bravo medical humanitarian relief team, carry a woman from her home to the site of the team's medical care site. The task force deployed Aug. 17 to provide medical humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Pisco, Peru following an 8.0 magnitude earthquake Aug. 15. U.S. Army photo by Specialist Grant Vaught.

PISCO, Peru -- Members of Joint Task Force-Bravo's disaster relief task force from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, continued to supply medical assistance to the citizens here Aug. 21, following an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the region Aug. 15.

Over the past two days, medical team members have treated more than 1,300 patients with a wide variety of conditions. Most patients required medicines for gastro-intestinal illnesses, respiratory illnesses, minor wounds and aches and pains.

In addition to basic medicines and medical care, members of the field team diagnosed a case of appendicitis in the field and quickly had the patient transported to the Mobile Surgical Team stationed at the airport.

"When the patient arrived, she approached the front of the line with her mother," said Capt. William Ingram, emergency medicine physician's assistant. "We listened to her story and she had three days of worsening abdominal pain. We laid her down to do an evaluation and determined that she needed to be taken away immediately."

News of the American medical team's presence traveled quickly through the town and to other agencies providing assistance. When other agencies arrived to help, members of Joint Task Force-Bravo's medical team were able to pack up and move to another location to provide more care.

"Once more agencies arrived, we realized we would be able to move locations and provide help to more people," said Master Sgt. Deborah Davis, task force non-commissioned officer in charge. "There are so many people in need. I'm glad we could offer our services to so many people."

As the mission wrapped up, many of the medical team members reflected on the time they spent in Peru.

"The Peruvian mission was great," said Maj. Paul Valdez, medical operations officer in charge. "The fact that we executed within 20 hours of notification and were the first American contingent speaks volumes of our capability. It just goes to show that our military is capable of not only fighting but also providing humanitarian assistance anytime, anywhere in the world."

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