NEWS | Feb. 10, 2014

Joint Task Force-Bravo provides critical medical care in Honduras

By U.S. Army Sgt. Courtney Kreft Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Mobile Surgical Team (MST) completed seven surgeries and the Task Force's Emergency Medicine Team (EMT) saw over 30 cases at Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), February 3-6.

"I feel this mission was the most successful and rewarding mission I have done since I arrived in Honduras," said U.S. Army Captain Yasmin Alter, a registered nurse for the Medical Element. "The relationship between the Hondurans and the U.S. personnel is one of respect, allowing us to learn from each other. The respect they have for American medicine allows us to teach them a lot on the process of triaging patients and doing thorough initial assessments."

The EMT saw several patients from a bus crash that occurred Tuesday, Feb.4. The EMT also treated a machete wound and several gunshot patients as well as many other trauma patients over the time the team was at the hospital. The team provided one combat medic, one registered nurse, and one physician assistant to help in the Emergency Room at Hospital Escuela.

"It was amazing how much care they are able to provide with limited resources and technology. Things we take for granted like pulse oximeters are hard to find in the hospital," said Alter. "This is also a learning experience for our combat medics who are often the first people to see the patients and treat them, because patients are transported in Honduras by whatever means are available and the goal is to get them to care as soon as possible."

The MST completed seven surgeries to include two gallbladder surgeries, one on a pregnant woman, a patient with multiple gunshot wounds, a compound leg fracture orthopedic surgery, two abdominal surgeries, one which included an appendix removal and ruptured bladder, and a hernia repair. JTF-Bravo training readiness helps to support Honduran medical capabilities and build a relationship with its partner nation.

"This is the third mission we have completed at Hospital Escuela and each time it offers an opportunity to work on a variety of cases, because the surgeries that come in are all trauma cases and vary depending on the day" said U.S. Army Specialist Kaivon Haynes, an operating room technician assigned to MEDEL.

Joint Task Force-Bravo's EMT performs smaller MEDRETEs in Comayagua on a weekly basis with other medical staff, and the MST performs weekly surgeries there as well. Both teams work on a 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.