News: Rhode Islanders meet with Panamanian doctors
Story by Pfc. Michael Iacona
COLON, Panama – Members of the Rhode Island National Guard Medical Detachment met with Dr. Tristan Pinzon, medical director of Hospital Colon, in support of Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013 here April 30.
The purpose of the meeting was to sustain a cooperative relationship with the local hospital to ensure appropriate medical treatment of U.S. and Panamanian security forces operating in Colon and other areas.
“This meeting is an opportunity for our medical personnel to make contact with our support in the Panamanian community and to ensure smooth operations in the event of emergencies,” said Maj. Dan Winschel, Rhode Island National Guard and physician’s assistant at Boston Medical Center.
The medical team included Winschel, Maj. Andrew Oakes-Lotteidge, personal physician, and Capt. David Donth, a firefighter and emergency medical technician for Central Falls Fire Department. During their meeting, they walked through the Hospital Colon with Pinzon.
The Rhode Island National Guard Medical Detachment team met with Pinzon to ensure that support from local medical staff is available in the event of emergencies at the various sites throughout Panama. The meeting afforded the doctors the opportunity to plan for contingencies and hash out procedures.
Pinzon is the director of Hospital Colon and is medically board-certified in urology in the United States. He studied in Houston, Texas, and India. He and Winschel both operated in the same field in their respective countries. Like Pinzon, Winschel works in urology as a physician’s assistant at Boston Medical Center.
“I have participated in these types of missions before, and our medical staff is prepared to help in any way that it can,” said Pinzon. “The hospital is well equipped to treat a variety of ailments and is especially efficient in preventative services as well as routine emergency services. However, major head trauma and cardio-thoracic procedures are handled at the hospital in Panama City.”
Tristan was pleased with the visit and personally conducted the tour of the facility. He described the wide range of services the facility provided and helped to orient the group to the hospital.
“We will be here if you need us said Pinzon to the U.S. medical team. “We are ready to help out in any way that we can."
In collaboration with Panamanian Security Personnel, U.S. forces are currently conducting joint training and humanitarian aid missions during Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013. Medical support and training is one of the focuses of effort, which also includes engineering support.
Beyond the Horizon-Panama 2013 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored, U.S. Army South-led, joint humanitarian and civic assistance exercise deploying U.S. military engineers and medical professionals to Panama to build cooperative relationships with the host nation while providing humanitarian services.