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News | Aug. 7, 2014

JTF-Bravo Medical Element Provides Surgical Care in Honduras

By U.S. Army Sgt. Catherine Tharpe Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force- Bravo's Mobile Surgical Team (MST) completed four surgeries at Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), July 29-31. The MST evaluated patients in the emergency department, developed an operating plan, carried out the surgery, and recovered patients all while teaching Honduran surgical residents the process step by step.

"The ability to work with residents allowed me to educate and teach surgical technical skills. We also were able to discuss diagnosis and management strategies for patients with acute general surgical problems," said U.S. Army Colonel David Foley, M.D., the general surgeon for the mission.

With the help of a translator, U.S. Army Major Scott Gadberry, MEDEL's Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), evaluated the patients' health history to determine the best mode of anesthesia for each case, monitored the patients during each surgery, and reevaluated the patients while they woke up during recovery.

The four surgeries conducted by the MST included treating a patient with an incarcerated hernia and obstructed bowels, two appendix removals, and a gallbladder removal. JTF-Bravo's training readiness helps to support Honduran medical capabilities and build on the U.S.-Honduras relationship.

"These missions have been very rewarding. The Honduran people are so appreciative of the care and procedures we provide, and it makes me proud to be part of Joint Task Force Bravo, MEDEL, and the MST," said U.S. Army Sgt. First Class David Cantu, a surgical technician and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the MST.

Joint Task Force-Bravo's MST performs weekly surgeries in Comayagua and works a on 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 in coordination with the Offices of Security Cooperation and partner nation Department of Health officials in all seven Central American countries.