NEWS | Jan. 28, 2011

JTF-Bravo provides medical assistance in Suriname

By Staff Sgt. Kimberly Moore Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Three Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element members arrived in Paramaribo, Suriname, Jan. 10, to assist in providing medical care to local residents in need.

USS Iwo Jima visited Suriname in November 2010 as part of a Continuing Promise medical mission. After only five days in town though, the carrier had to end its mission and leave to render to those affected by Hurricane Tomas in the Eastern Caribbean.

The medical mission to complete surgical procedures remaining from Operation Continuing Promise was accepted by JTF-Bravo and three MEDEL members traveled to Suriname to assist.

Col. Michael Hoilien, Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element commander, Lt. Col. Bernard Kopchinski, surgeon and Lt. Col. Francis Stoecker, certified registered nurse anesthetist worked with Dr. John De Bye, 's Lands Hospital chief of surgery, and his surgical staff to diagnose patients' needs and conduct surgical operations.

Organizing this mission was a joint accomplishment of the US Embassy in Suriname, the Suriname Ministry of Health, 's Lands Hospital and JTF-Bravo medical staff.

Colonel Kopchinski said, "The hospitality of the people of Suriname and the outstanding cooperation between the medical staff and our team members verily contributed to a successful mission."