Mobile Surgical Team Builds Friendships, Sharpens Skills in Honduras Hospital
By Dialogo May 06, 2013
On April 23, Joint Task Force-Bravo’s (JTF-B) Mobile Surgical Team (MST) partnered with the Hospital Escuela, a training hospital in Tegucigalpa, to teach and perform much needed surgeries as part of a commitment to building partnership capacity.
The MST, assigned to the Medical Element at JTF-B, performs weekly surgical medical readiness training exercises (MEDRETE) in Comayagua and La Paz, while visiting Tegucigalpa on a monthly basis.
The training hospital allows the team to work with surgical students and teach new techniques they may not have been exposed to. For example, on this occasion, the surgical team partnered with a third year medical student to perform three surgeries during the MEDRETE at Hospital Escuela.
“It was a great opportunity for us to team with our Honduran counterparts and to instruct the students during their surgical rotation,” said Maj. Boggs, MST surgeon. “We not only taught the student, we also learned from her as well.”
When the team is in surgery they work alongside Honduran medical staff sharing knowledge and techniques.
“The hospital staff and our Honduran counterparts were hungry for the knowledge and for the insights we provided them,” said Capt. Shawn Fahey, MST nurse anesthetist.
Surgical MEDRETES allow the MST to exercise their surgical skills while providing relief to the saturated medical staff at Hospital Escuela.
“We free up their surgical teams to take care of other patients,” said Boggs. “One of the patients had a dead bowel; we had to do the surgery that night or he would not have made it to morning.”
When the MST visits hospitals in the community they travel with everything they need to complete the mission. All the instruments and drugs are packed and ready to go. This allows the team to setup anywhere to complete the mission.
“The goal of the MST is not only to provide surgical assistance to the local population but also to provide relief to hospitals that may be overwhelmed with patients,” said Capt. William Ang Abrigo, surgical nurse. “We are here to provide quality medical care to the patients, as well as to build a working relationship with our Honduran counterparts.”
The trip to Tegucigalpa was a huge success,” said Boggs. “The hospital called us 24 hours later and requested we come back as soon as possible.”
We would love to get in touch with mst in order to transfer their experiences to the central hospital of our armed forces. It's important, since we have edited a book on operational medicine and we have published several articles considered to be of academic interest.