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Airmen medics take pulse of Chilean counterparts

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jason Tudor
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Partnership and education between the United States and Chile continued April 4 in the halls of a Chilean Air Force hospital as Airmen from both countries shared medical knowledge to prepare for trauma care.

The two-day long medical summit took place just inside the city limits here with a doctor, a nurse and a pararescue specialist lending his skills as an emergency medical technician. They offered several classes on topics such as how to treat burn victims, abdominal injuries and more. Approximately 20 nurses and medical technicians attended the courses, taught in the hospital's education center.

Major (Dr.) John Dorsch, assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., said the importance of the exchange could not be underestimated.

"There's a direct effect of being able to engage medical personnel in Chile discuss developments in trauma care," the major said. "We all have subtle ways of doing things. It's an opportunity for us both to learn and exchange information. We also establish relationships as medical professionals bringing together common backgrounds. The rest just falls into place."

Capt. Felix Alicia, a flight nurse assigned to the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland AFB, Texas, said the meetings also allowed the team to gauge each other's readiness in times of crisis.

"Operationally speaking, this visit allows us to assess what medical resources are available. So, if we ever have to work alongside each other in peace or in war, we'll have an idea if where each units falls into the puzzle," Captain Alicia said.

Later, Chilean Air Force medical teams participated in a mass-casualty exercise. The events round out a week-long series of efforts by the U.S. Air Force in the Chilean capital. Events included visits to area charities, hospitals and orphanages, as well as, community tours of Air Force aircraft during the FIDAE 2008 air and trade show.

Senior Airman Derek Anderson, a Spanish-speaking pararescue specialist, also assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., explained how partner nations have a need for new medical technology.

"Knowledge-wise, they're good," he said. "It's technology they're in need of...I've heard nurses, doctors and paramedics talk about how the tools used in American clinics are more up to date. Our Chilean counterparts are all very interested in the medical equipment Airmen are bringing to demonstrate."