U.S., Iraqi surgeons share knowledge
January 20, 2010
- U.S. military surgeons attended a joint medical conference designed to enhance Iraqi medical skills
BAGHDAD - Iraqi and U.S. military surgeons attended a joint medical conference at Al-Muthana Military Hospital Jan. 18 that was designed to enhance Iraqi medical skills.
The Iraqi-led conference allows U.S. military surgeons opportunities to teach their Iraqi counterparts how to better treat combat trauma, while also teaching them other life-saving skills. It was the third such conference in an ongoing series.
The conferences, named the Iraqi Security Forces Grand Rounds, began in September 2009 with 15 participants, said Col. Bernard DeKoning, the U.S. senior medical advisor to the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior. The second conference, held two months later, saw nearly 30 Iraqis in attendance.
This latest conference drew approximately 50 participants, including 15 U.S. military surgeons and medical specialists and marked the first time the 1st Armored Division medical staff has attended.
"I'm looking forward to establishing a relationship with Iraqi surgeons," said Lt. Col. Vincent Barnhart, the U.S. Division-Center surgeon.
Iraq will receive long-term medical benefits from these conferences, said Barnhart, a native of Edenville, Pa.
"We are hoping to establish a sustainable increase in Iraqi medical capacity through this program so that it can grow even after we leave."
"I am happy with the cooperation we share with U.S. forces," said Lt. Col. Qaisar Alshami, a rheumatologist specializing in medical rehabilitation. "[Iraqis] are learning a lot from the U.S. that can help us take care of our people."
Qaisar spoke about Ankylosing Spondylitis, a condition that affects the joints and spine with a tendency of causing inflammatory arthritis. The condition gets worse with rest and inactivity.
Following Qaisar's lecture, Col. Alex Stojadinovic, chief of surgery assigned to Medical Task Force 28, discussed various forms and treatments of abdominal trauma including internal hemorrhaging and blunt trauma.
Attendees of the event included prominent members of the Iraqi Army and U.S. forces.
Among them were Staff Maj. Gen. Samir, the surgeon general of the Ministry of Defense, and Col. Ibrahim, command surgeon for the Ministry of the Interior, and Staff Brig. Nadhum, the commander of Taji Air Base, which is one of the primary hubs supplying air evacuation to Iraqi casualties.
Samir said he was thankful for the U.S. presence and knowledge at the conference and how it helps Iraqi medical professionals provide care to their patients.
After exchanging information, Barnhart met with Col. Amir, the commander of Al-Muthana Military Hospital, and presented two footlockers full of medical journals and texts donated by medical publishers in the United States. The donation will double the size of the hospital's medical library, said Barnhart.
The next conference is scheduled to take place sometime in March.