By Sgt. Nahjier WilliamsApril 24, 2019
Partnering with Kuwait host nation medical facilities makes it possible for U.S. service members to receive both timely and quality medical care while remaining in theater.
Cpt. Andrew Hehr and Maj. Anthony Delmonico, host nation liaisons with the 452d Combat Support Hospital, a U.S. Army Reserve unit currently serving as the United States Military Hospital - Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, explain the vital role they play as middlemen appointed with coordinating specific care for patients that would otherwise not be available in theater.
"In the time we've been here, we've seen well over 200 patients. The vast majority would of had to be evacuated back to Germany at the very least, or to the states for the level of care. In some instances, they may have not lived. We were able to get them to treatment facilities and get them the care they need as soon as possible" said Hehr.
"We help people stay in theater. There are not a lot of people who need an MRI or blow out their knee who say 'I want to get out of here,' they want to stay" said Delmonico.
In addition, the partnership allows care to be provided without bringing additional medical personnel for cases which only happen every so often.
"If we had to bring providers for all of the different specialties in the hospital, we would be taking them all from back in their states for one or two cases a year. We are able to keep our assets back there and just take care of it here," Hehr said.
Having the additional assets also elevates the hospitals status to a role three hospital, meaning they possess capabilities of a trauma center.
Partnerships that enhance the force aren't built overnight, nor are they taken for granted.
"We have built a level of trust and respect with all the facilities that we use so we can get all of our service members treated," said Hehr.
"We both realize that when we're in the city and we're interacting with people, we are the face of the Army for them," Delmonico added.
"It's an experience I never thought I would be able to have in the military," Hehr said. "Being able to go to some of the administrative health hospitals and work with our medical partners on the Kuwait military side and coordinate with them for some of the care as well has been a good experience for both of us, and allow us to get outside our comfort zone," he said.
Both Hehr and Delmonico work closely with their Kuwaiti counterparts and have observed their professional standards.
"They have all their licenses and certifications, and they've done it all," Hehr said."They (American military) should feel safe going out there to get the care that they would get here," he said.
"The hospitals that we go to are certified at or above the levels that we would expect the hospitals back in the states to," said Hehr. "All the hospitals look like 5-Star resorts, they are amazing places to go see - let alone be a patient at."