TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras —
A team of Brooke Army Medical Center urology surgeons, nurses, medics and support staff completed a Medical Readiness Exercise July 19-27 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The medical personnel divided into teams to work with their Honduran counterparts and Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel to complete complex trauma surgeries at Hospital Escuela, a teaching hospital, which is the main center for public health in Honduras and Hospital Maria, a pediatric medical facility.
“This is an exchange between Honduran surgeons and us,” said Army Lt. Col. Steven Hudak, BAMC urology surgeon. “There are a whole lot of things they do in very large numbers that we never see in the United States and there are a whole lot of things we do in very large numbers that they do not have the ability or capacity to perform.”
Hudak said there are a number of reasons for exercises like this. They support the medical readiness of our personnel, foster the exchange of ideas with Honduran medical professionals and they give us the ability to complete a high volume of late-effect trauma surgeries, which enhances our ability to care for patients at BAMC.
“The number of surgeries we perform over the course of 10 days would probably take six months of work at BAMC – a busy Level I Trauma Center,” Hudak said.
One particular case this year involved a teenager with severe epilepsy. The surgeons had seen him over the past couple of years, but they were unable to complete the urological surgery he needed because of his seizures.
“This year he came back and not only did his neurologist say there was nothing he could do to improve his epilepsy, he actually concluded that his urological problem was exacerbating his epilepsy,” Hudak explained. “Fortunately the anesthesiologist who was part of our team said he could handle the epilepsy, so we were able to complete the surgery. We completed the operation with great success.
“The hope is this not only alleviates his urological problem, it improves his long term care,” Hudak said.
In total, the surgical teams were able to evaluate 123 complex surgical patients, many of whom were suffering the late effects of traumatic injury.
“We have solved many medical issues that had an apparently difficult solution; but as an integrated team we have been able to solve them,” Said Dr. Carlos Garcia, a Honduran urologist. “We have spent many years working together with this team coming to Honduras and we hope we continue to do so for many more years to come.”
Hudak agrees. “I’ll been working with some of the local urologists for more than a decade,” he said. “There has been an element of trust developed over the years. It’s actually a very satisfying relationship to work together and learn from one another.”