Santa Barbara, Honduras –
The Joint Task Force-Bravo Forward Surgical Section conducted general surgeries at the Santa Barbara Hospital in the department of Santa Barbara, Honduras, Feb. 15 – 17 in conjunction with local surgeons.
The team comprised of Army Reserve soldiers included a general surgeon, two surgical technicians, two operating room nurses, an anesthesiologist, and a Honduran surgeon as the liaison officer between JTF-Bravo and the local Ministry of Health.
“I think building friendships with the people of Honduras is very important and we are showing them a side of the [U.S. military] that they may not be familiar with. We are showing our humanitarian side and that we are here to help,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Barry Landry, general surgeon with JTF-Bravo.
Local surgeons, nurses and operating room staff worked side by side with the FSS team to assist the population of Santa Barbara and prescreened the patients to select those who were critical.
“The team has been very enthusiastic and organized and they have come here to really help our patients. We are very grateful and our patients even more so. They have brought their own supplies which is great because unfortunately we are lacking. Our staff has learned a lot and we are very impressed by how practical they are when they work. This has been a great experience for our staff,” said Rosa Maribel Pineda, nurse and OR Chief at the Santa Barbara Hospital.
U.S. service members also have an opportunity to validate their expeditionary capabilities and increase their readiness through these missions by working in a controlled but unfamiliar environment.
“In forward deployments such as a war zone or disaster you don’t have all the amenities you need, so you have to be prepared and familiarize yourself to working without the comforts of home. So, our team is also getting valuable training in case there is a real emergency,” said Landry.
During the three-day mission the team conducted nine surgeries, including cholecystectomies and hernia repairs, to support the population and alleviate some of the surgical backlog dating back to one or two years.
While this surgical mission took place at the Santa Barbara Hospital, other service members with JTF-Bravo provided basic medical services in nearby villages, caring for approximately 700 Hondurans.