A medic from Joint Task Force Bravo meets with a Honduran woman in the Department of Santa Barbara, Honduras, during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise, conducted Aug. 11-15, 2014.

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras (Aug. 22, 2014) -- Joint Task Force-Bravo helped provide medical care to more than 1,400 Hondurans and performed 11 surgeries during a Medical Readiness Training Exercise and Mobile Surgical Team engagement, Aug. 11-15.

The expeditionary Medical Readiness Training Exercise, known as an MEDRETE, team convoyed to the communities of San Juan del Sitio and Correderos, while the Mobile Surgical Team, or MST, group convoyed to the Santa Barbara Hospital to perform the surgeries.

"The communities of San Juan del Sitio and Correderos are greatly under-served medically," said Maj. Daniel Gardner, mission commander and pharmacist with the JTF-Bravo Medical Element. "Some residents received timely and effective treatment for acute conditions that potentially could have produced long-term problems. Examples include antibiotics for acute infections, respiratory treatments, and dental extractions."

The JTF-Bravo team, the Honduran Ministry of Health and the Honduran military worked together to provide preventative medical information, anti-parasitic treatment, much-needed dental services, and a range of primary care services, including treating and controlling a head lice outbreak in San Juan del Sitio.

An unusual case presented to the MEDRETE team required the removal of a bullet located in a man's chest, which had been there for two years.

"The bullet was left over from an incident in 2012, and had worked its way up just under the skin," Gardner said. "The procedure was straightforward and performed under field conditions by a physician assistant and medic."

U.S. Army and Honduran surgeons performed open cholecystectomy, hernia and appendectomy surgeries to include an emergency appendectomy. The operations provided to the under-serviced and impoverished community didn't cost them anything, while the surgical team also helped shrink the surgery waiting list, provided materials necessary to perform some procedures and helped local medical professionals repair medical facilities and equipment.

"These surgeries were provided to the patients at no cost, which helped those who did not have the money to pay," said Maj. Karen Santiago, MST mission commander and medical element chief nurse. "The Santa Barbara Hospital had a 50-patient backlog that was reduced to 39, and they could not perform the hernia surgeries because they didn't have any (surgical) mesh, so we provided it."

Both medical teams commended the Honduran Ministry of Health and military personnel for a job well done, even in the toughest of conditions.

"I was impressed by the high quality performance and professionalism of Joint Task Force-Bravo, Honduran Ministry of Health, and military personnel," added Gardner. "But I was also awed by the profound lack of healthcare resources available in these remote communities, and the ability of the Ministry of Health personnel to stretch those limited resources."

Joint Task Force-Bravo has been conducting medical readiness training exercises since October 1993. They have treated more than 349,000 medical patients, 69,000 dental patients and 14,400 surgical patients throughout Central America.

Page last updated Tue August 26th, 2014 at 08:21