NEWS | Aug. 12, 2013

MEDEL performs surgeries in local hospital

By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office

A six-person mobile surgical team from Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element performed four surgeries Aug. 7 at a hospital in Comayagua, Honduras.

The surgical team assisted the hospital in removing three gallbladders and one bot fly larvae from a child's body. MEDEL provides relevant, responsive care while enhancing the capabilities of partner nations.

"This day was exemplary of what we do on an ordinary basis, which is provide medical support services to a hospital and surgical team," said U.S. Army Col. Ronald Rene, MEDEL general surgeon. "We share a culture of practicing surgery while delivering healthcare, as well as augment their capabilities by providing additional supplies and staff."

During the bi-weekly visit to hospitals in towns such as La Paz and Comayagua the MST routinely perform various operations, which include hernias and appendectomies.

"The atmosphere changes when someone's performing surgery on a child," said U.S. Army Spc. Kaivon Haynes, MEDEL operating room specialist. "The environment get's much more comforting and everyone is in tuned to the patient from the time they go to sleep until they wake up. I believe we show the people of Comayagua that the U.S. government is here to help and we want to provide as much assistance as possible."

MEDEL helps assist the local population because there's a lack of funding and medical supplies.

"I don't want to give anyone the wrong idea, these surgeons are excellent and they really make do with what they have," said Rene. "They have taught me things that I have not experienced, not even in my training in the inner city of New York. They have adapted to doing things very efficiently with spectacular results. I'm happy to learn and adapt as there is always an exchange of ideas."

JTF-B has been engaged in humanitarian medical activities in Honduras since the1980s and on July 13, Col. Thomas Boccardi, JTF-B commander, accepted an appreciation award from the Honduran First Presidential Designate Maria Antonieta Guillen de Bogran (Honduran equivalent to the U.S. vice president) for providing MEDRETEs, which has assisted more than 1 million Honduran citizens.