NEWS | July 10, 2008

JTF-Bravo Medical Element teaches trauma course at annual Honduran medical conference

By Staff Sgt. Joel Mease Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Members from the Joint Task Force Bravo Medical Element presented a medical trauma refresher and trauma simulations to more than 200 Honduran medical professionals at an annual medical conference in the Honduran capital July 8.

Medical officials from all over Honduras converged on the capital city for the day-long medical conference covering multiple topics, but the demand to see the presentation from the MEDEL team exceeded expectations from event organizers.

Originally the presentations from the MEDEL team were to be in front of a smaller crowd of about 50. However, it turned out to be one of the more popular attractions at the conference bringing in more than 200 doctors and health professionals, according to Honduran event organizers.

"There turned out to be a lot more interest than I anticipated," Army Lt. Col. Barry Martin said. "We tried to keep the trauma course as basic as we could, as there is no organized trauma course offered in Honduras currently. So for some, this was their first course, while for others it had been awhile."

The course, which centered around basic trauma management, was taught by four members of JTF-Bravo. The instructors were also accompanied by others from MEDEL to allow Honduran medical professionals an opportunity to see potential trauma cases in a more realistic environment by portraying cases ranging from abdominal bruising to a femur fracture.

"It was a great opportunity for me to be a part of," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Gilbert Emmrid, who played the role of a patient with a femur fracture. "Anytime I can help others get better at what they do, I want to be there."

The event also presented the team members an opportunity to learn from their Honduran colleagues.

"I learn just as much from these medical conversations as they do from us," Air Force Capt. Dennis Spencer said. "Many of the situations they face on a daily basis in Honduras apply to us in the military as well. Some examples like slower transportation and treating injuries in rural areas are some of the same conditions we face in Iraq or Afghanistan. Anytime I get the opportunity to interact with anyone else in the medical community it's a win-win."