JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Lt. Gen. Nadja West, the U.S. Army Surgeon General and commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, visited Brooke Army Medical Center Dec. 14 for the first time since she became surgeon general to learn about the BAMC mission and visit patients and staff members.
West toured several areas within the hospital, including the simulation center, burn center, emergency department, rooftop helipad and the Center for the Intrepid.
Army Maj. Heather Delaney, BAMC Simulation Center chief, and her staff provided demonstrations on lifelike simulation mannequins and equipment they use daily to train doctors, residents, nurses and other staff.
Delaney also talked about the role the simulation center played in training the military Ebola team in October 2014.
“We created a 65-page curriculum that talked about the different varying degrees of the Ebola virus,” Delaney explained, showing the West a poster created to highlight the Ebola training.
“I can tell you that at the highest levels … we really appreciate how rapidly you [helped] put the team together,” West said. “To do that so quickly is a testament to the fantastic professionalism here.”
West tried some of the surgical simulators such as the Bronchoscope simulator, to get hands-on experience.
She then toured the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center to learn about their mission. The burn center staff explained the rehabilitation process for patients receiving burn care and highlighted the patient transport mission and use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, on patients during transport.
West said she realized how daunting it must be for staff members who work with patients recovering from severe injuries, so she encouraged the staff to remain resilient and support each other.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, BAMC commanding general, and BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Crews then showed West the only rooftop helipad in the Department of Defense, where she met several Army and Air Force doctors who explained the importance of maintaining an active Level I Trauma Center and its role in sustaining a ready medical force.
“If leaders hear it from the folks who are actually doing it and making recommendations, that’s very powerful,” West said. “That’s critical to make sure we preserve our capabilities.”
The surgeon general also visited an operating room area and the emergency department before moving on to the Center for the Intrepid where she toured the facility.
“If you ever need to see a ‘can-do’ attitude in person, visit the Center for the Intrepid,” West tweeted after her visit. “I can’t say enough about the wonderful professionals we have in the Army Medical Department.”