Joint Task Force-Bravo provides surgical care to Honduran patients
By Capt. Steven Stubbs, Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
/ Published May 13, 2014
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Joint Task Force-Bravo's Mobile Surgical Team (MST) partnered with the surgical staff at Hospital de Occidente in the city of Santa Rosa de Copan, Department of Copan, Honduras to complete eight surgeries in three days during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), May 5-9.
A Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) tent was assembled in the hospital parking lot to provide the MST a feel for what it would be like to operate in a deployed situation. The DRASH tent kit includes a generator and air conditioning unit to provide the team with a suitable operating room environment.
"This exercise was able to prepare our soldiers for field operations in a combat situation." U.S Army Lt. Col. Mark Talbert, the MST general surgeon. "We were given the opportunity to set up the tent, the multitude of portable operating room equipment, the generator and the air conditioning unit. Once the mobile operating room setup is complete, it has the same capabilities of any operating room in the United States."
The MST completed eight surgeries to include gallbladder removals and hernia repairs, one of which was performed on a five-year-old Honduran boy. These surgeries, which are often very expensive for Honduran nationals, were provided free of charge. The work of the MST helped support Honduran medical capabilities while continuing to strengthen the relationship between JTF-Bravo and its partner nation.
"On a professional level, two surgeons are given the opportunity to mesh ideas together and share and compare techniques that we would use in different situations," said Talbert. "We also gave the hospital some of our resources and medications that they would not be able to purchase because they are so expensive."
Joint Task Force-Bravo's MST performs weekly surgeries in Comayagua and works on a regular basis to support U.S Southern Command's humanitarian and disaster relief programs in order to strengthen civil-military cooperation between the United States and nations in the region. This is done in coordination with the Offices of Security Cooperation and partner nation Department of Health officials in all seven Central American countries.