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NEWS | Oct. 15, 2012

Visiting Mexican army doctors save man in San Antonio restaurant

By Sgt. 1st Class Christopher DeHart ARNORTH Public Affairs

Five visiting doctors from Mexico's National Defense Army became local heroes Sept. 19 after helping save a local San Antonian during dinner at a San Antonio restaurant.

The visiting doctors were eating dinner at the Tower of the Americas when a man at a nearby table collapsed onto the floor. His dinner companion then stood up and began desperately asking for help.

"In these moments, as doctors, you don't really think," said National Defense Army Maj. Israel Ramirez, a general surgeon. "You just react."

When the person started convulsing and choking, Ramirez and Maj. Jesus Andino, an orthopedic surgeon with the group, immediately went to the man's aid.

"One of them helped the man onto his side while the other managed to use a spoon to clear the obstruction from his airway, allowing him to breath and become stable," said Maj. Jim Marckwardt, Security Cooperation Division, U.S. Army North.

Marckwardt said they later learned the gentleman had suffered an epileptic seizure.

Thanks to the two doctors' swift intervention, paramedics had a much easier time helping the man back to consciousness and coherency. The doctors watched over him until the couple left later in the evening.

The visiting Mexican doctors were in town to observe U.S. Army Soldiers conducting combat medic military occupational specialty training and advanced tactical medical care at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, as part of a series of visits hosted by U.S. Army North.

Andino said that it was a fascinating opportunity to see combat-related training as a military doctor, but what happened at the restaurant was a more familiar scenario for them.

"It was gratifying for us to be able to help someone here in the United States in this way," said Mexican army Lt. Col. Luis Delgado, the senior officer in the group and a general surgeon. "We feel better that we helped him in such a situation."

Delgado went on to say that this experience, combined with the training that they have already witnessed while here, will give them much to bring back with them to Mexico to teach their own military medical professionals.