Back to Top Skip to main content

Elective surgeries hone surgical skills, prepare medical team for combat

Inside Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s second floor surgery suite, surgeons and medical teams are busy honing their critical-care skills. Regardless of procedure or patient, every incision is an exercise in mission readiness. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez) At William Beaumont Army Medical Center, surgeons and medical teams are busy honing their critical-care skills. Regardless of procedure or patient, every incision is an exercise in mission readiness. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Health Readiness

FORT HOOD, Texas — Inside Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s second floor surgery suite, surgeons and medical teams are busy honing their critical-care skills. In one room, a retiree is getting a new nose. A few feet away, surgeons are replacing broken knees and performing bariatric surgery on dependents to enhance their quality of life. Regardless of procedure or patient, every incision is an exercise in mission readiness.

“Often, when we think of readiness, we’re only thinking of the warfighter or active-duty Soldier,” said Army  Lt. Col. Leah Triolo, an orthopedic surgeon and deputy of the Fort Hood hospital’s surgical services. “But there’re a lot of other green suiters who to go to support that warfighter, and that’s our medical team.”

That team, said Triolo, includes every member on the nursing and anesthesiology staff to the post-recovery and the ward staff who are taking care of the medications and providing more challenging care.

“Even though the surgery itself is elective, providing care to more complex cases, such as a total joint replacement, helps with the readiness of the entire team,” she said.

 “Everything we do is a training opportunity to better prepare us for such things as gunshot wounds, fractures and IED explosions when we do go downrange,” said Army Lt. Col. Lance Taylor, who as chief of operating and anesthesia services, orchestrates the battle rhythm inside CRDAMC’s 8-bay surgical suite.

 “When we look at our total joint population, they represent a population of complex patients because of their medical comorbidities that we may not see when we treat only our active-duty population who are often young and healthy,” said Triolo who deployed twice to Afghanistan with Forward Surgical Teams. “It’s the same with the bariatric care population who are often admitted to the intensive care unit post-op because of other pre-existing conditions that represent critical-care issues.”

Army Maj. Saundra Martinez, a perioperative nurse who saw her share of injuries during her deployment to Tikrit, Iraq, with the 82nd Airborne, said repetition and training in controlled environments translate to surgical excellence and patient safety.

“All that training just clicks in when you are deployed,” said Martinez, who is the chief nurse and officer in charge of CRDAMC’s operating room suites. “That muscle memory just comes back to you regardless of the procedure and requires you to critically think about what’s going on and what you need to do to get that patient stable.”

Open surgeries such as hernias or gastric bypass procedures also offer real-world lessons in anatomy.

“In theater, we get big cases like gunshot wounds to the abdomen and blast explosions, so what we do stateside exposes us to that open-body environment,” said Army Capt. Carolyn Dillon, who deployed to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan and now serves as a circulating nurse who helps prep the patient for surgery and oversees operating room preparation. “We saw lots of wounds from IED explosions, burns and gunshot wounds to the arms and chest, so taking care of the patients there from our fixed experiences here, helps you think outside the box. You’re just not going to have all the necessities in theater that you have here, so critical thinking is key. Overall, all the experiences refine your skills, so you kind of know a little bit about everything.”

On average, the eight surgical teams, which consist of the surgeon, circulating nurse, technician and anesthesiologist perform about 30 surgeries daily.

It’s important, said Taylor, who manages the surgical center’s operating hub, to keep the operating rooms hopping to maximize both operational resources and the surgical skills of the hospital’s medical team.

“If the operating rooms weren’t filled all the time, how would we get our skills?” said Martinez. “How would we know how to take care of our patients?”

For CRDAMC physician, Army Lt. Col. Paula Oliver, who recently returned from a combat deployment, every procedure regardless of simplicity or severity prepares surgeons for combat’s worst-case scenarios.

“The more you operate, no matter the procedure, the more familiar you are with the anatomy and are exposed to complications and anatomical differences,” said Oliver. “Even those who care for civilian trauma can’t be completely prepared for the massive wounds we see with IED blasts, but the more you know, are exposed to, and are comfortable with, helps when you receive your first traumatic multiple amputee.”

That repetition also builds confidence for the Army’s operating-room technicians who shadow the surgeons.

“The only way you are going to boost your confidence level is through repetition,” said Army Spec. Matthew Barek, an operating-room technician who has already assisted in more than 300 surgeries in the three months he has been at CRDAMC. “It helps you to not get nervous and to be able to do everything you need to do.”

Surgery is not just about incisions and sutures. It’s also about patient safety.

“Everyone on that table is someone’s mother, father, son or daughter,” said Army Sgt. Mark Johnson who is as the non-commissioned officer in charge of CRDAMC’s surgery department.

And that, says Martinez, is why every surgical opportunity is a training exercise in deployment medicine.

“It really is irrelevant what kind of surgery it is,” said Martinez. “Having the opportunity to hone our skills during routine procedures is essential downrange when saving lives on the battlefield.”

And those skills, said Triolo, are the unifying element for all the medical providers tasked with saving lives.

“When you’re forward deployed, you don’t have the assets you have here at home, but the skills, which come from the readiness you’ve developed by taking care of critical patients, you take with you,” she said. “Even though the procedures we’re performing here may be thought of as elective or not needed in a military setting, the trickle-down effect for the readiness of the hospital’s entire team is important. And we like the positive impact it can have on the entire population that we support here at Fort Hood.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Global Influenza Summary: July 30, 2017

Report
7/30/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

MHS Online Transparency Site launch

Article
7/20/2017
Patients who use military hospitals and clinics will find it easier to see how their facility is performing thanks to June 28 changes by the Military Health System to its transparency website. (MHS graphic)

Recent changes put ratings at beneficiary fingertips through simple online clicks

Recommended Content:

MHS Quality, Patient Safety, and Access Information (for Patients) | Military Hospitals and Clinics | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals)

Pacific Angel exercise in Fiji focuses on exchanges of expertise

Article
7/19/2017
Sergeant Natoga Anitelu, left, a medical services technician with Fiji's military forces, discusses the best ways to clear an infant's airway with U.S. Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Paola Rosa, center, and U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Scott Stewart, right, during a subject-matter-expert exchange as part of exercise Pacific Angel 17-3 at a health care center in Ba, Fiji. (Air Force photo by Capt. Samantha Morrison)

Pacific Angel has multilateral international participants from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region working together to assist local communities and improve capabilities among one another as one team

Recommended Content:

Civil Military Medicine | Health Readiness

In the zone at WBAMC's inpatient wards

Article
7/17/2017
Usa Thompson, staff nurse, Surgical Ward, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, measures medication while donning a visual aid designed to limit interactions and distractions while administering medications. Inpatient Wards at WBAMC implemented distraction-free designated times and other initiatives to proactively combat potential for error in missed or incorrect medications. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

William Beaumont Army Medical Center’s Inpatient Wards have proactively implemented a distraction-free designated time dubbed, Medzone

Recommended Content:

Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety | Military Hospitals and Clinics | Patient Safety

Zika in the Americas: July 12, 2017

Report
7/12/2017

This is a biosurveillance summary of Zika in the Americas as of July 12, 2017. As of 1300 on 12 JUL 2017, there have been 175 (+1) confirmed Zika virus (ZIKV) disease cases (see table) since the first case was reported in JAN 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Integrated Biosurveillance Summaries

H7N9: July 6, 2017

Report
7/6/2017

This is a biosurveillance summary of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Surveillance #77: July 6, 2017, as reported by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. As of 6 JUL, the total influenza A (H7N9) human case count since the fifth seasonal epidemic of H7N9 began on 1 OCT 2016 is 919 (+13) cases with at least 269 deaths. Read more:

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Integrated Biosurveillance Summaries

H7N9: June 21, 2017

Report
6/21/2017

This is a biosurveillance summary of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Surveillance #77: June 21, 2017, as reported by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. As of 21 JUN, the total influenza A (H7N9) human case count since the fifth seasonal epidemic of H7N9 began on 1 OCT 2016 is 906 (+17) cases with at least 269 (+30) deaths. Read more:

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Integrated Biosurveillance Summaries

Joint medical team provides medical care to remote communities

Article
6/19/2017
Army Maj. Jesus Morales, dentist, 49th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jessica Hawk, dental assistant, 172d Airlift Wing, Jackson Mississippi, extract a decayed tooth from Raymond Kline. Kline participated in the no-cost medical services offered during the Ozark Highlands Innovated Readiness Training, Mountain Home, Arkansas, recently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean)

The Innovative Readiness Training program is a unique way to provide real-world training to medical personnel while helping our fellow Americans by providing them no-cost medical care

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care | Health Readiness

Zika in the Americas: June 15, 2017

Report
6/15/2017

This is a biosurveillance summary of Zika in the Americas as of June 14, 2017. As of 1300 on 14 JUN 2017, there have been 174 confirmed Zika virus (ZIKV) disease cases (see table) since the first case was reported in JAN 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Integrated Biosurveillance Summaries

Guard medics conduct medical evacuation training

Article
6/12/2017
Medics with the 108th Area Support Medical Company, 213th Regional Support Group, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, off-load a simulated casualty from a UH-60 Black Hawk operated by Soldiers from Detachment 2, Charlie Company, 2nd Squadron, 104th Regiment, 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Pennsylvania Army National Guard during training. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Coltin Heller)

Pennsylvania Army National Guard medics conducted a simulated medical evacuation exercise

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

H7N9: June 7, 2017

Report
6/7/2017

This is a biosurveillance summary of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Surveillance #77: June 7, 2017, as reported by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. As of 7 JUN, the total influenza A (H7N9) human case count since the fifth seasonal epidemic of H7N9 began on 1 OCT 2016 is 889 (+20) cases with at least 239 (+1) deaths. Read more:

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Integrated Biosurveillance | Integrated Biosurveillance Summaries

Military telepain clinics in D.C. area help patients manage pain

Article
6/7/2017
Dr. Christopher Spevak, director of the opioid safety program for the National Capital Region in and around Washington, D.C., uses the telehealth equipment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. (DoD photo by Kalila Fleming)

Being able to see your doctor without being in the same room, or even the same hospital, is giving some Military Health System beneficiaries more access to care; and it’s helping the MHS manage its opioid usage

Recommended Content:

Technology | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Physical therapy helps keep pain away

Article
6/5/2017
Aviation Electrician's Mate Airman Melanie Hess performs physical therapy aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan. Three months into Bataan’s deployment the physical therapy area in the medical ward continues to see dozens of patients a week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Magen F. Reed)

Physical therapy is a valued asset aboard a ship

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Global Influenza Summary: May 28, 2017

Report
5/28/2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | AFHSB Reports and Publications | Influenza Summary and Reports

Airmen, Sailors support life-saving mission

Article
5/25/2017
Air Force Staff Sgt. Angel Figueroa, 18th Medical Operations Squadron technician, (left) and Maj. Melissa Dassinger, 18th Aerospace Evacuation Squadron Training Flight commander, test a “Giraffe” omnibed at Kadena Air Base, Japan. A C-17 Globemaster III can be equipped with materials and systems required to transport injured patients across great distances quickly and safely. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)

Airmen and Sailors worked together to outfit a C-17 Globemaster III with life-saving equipment

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Innovation | Technology
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 43

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.