Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Urology resident receives valuable training in Belize

    Urology resident receives valuable training in Belize

    Photo By 1st Lt. Kali Gradishar | From left, U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison, urologist; Capt. (Dr.) Matthew...... read more read more

    BELIZE CITY, Belize - In his fourth year of residency, U.S. Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Matthew Stringer has traveled south of his home unit at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas to Belize City in support of New Horizons Belize 2014.

    The urology resident from Syracuse, New York, is on his first overseas journey, helping people and training to better aspire to his goal of offering superb care for wounded service members.

    "When I was applying for medical school, I saw a PBS documentary on taking care of wounded Soldiers coming back from Iraq," said Stringer, a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "I wanted to take care of them, and that's what inspired me to call the recruiter."

    Stringer has discovered during his time at SAMMC that working with service members provides much job satisfaction, but he's also found that working with World War II veterans reinvigorates his desire for a military career.

    "I have the chance to develop relationships with veterans as far back as World War II while we treat more chronic conditions," Stringer said. "Some of the veterans I see are World War II legends - real war heroes.

    "They are a reminder of why I signed up in the first place," he said.

    Many of Stringer's experiences since he completed medical school and began his military career have put him well on the path to provide the best care possible.

    "During my first and second years at SAMMC, I had a lot of experience in critical care, particularly in the burn unit," Stringer said. "There is a 20 percent chance of genital or urinary battlefield injuries, so it's very important to have a urologist who is trained on how to manage those injuries."

    "That's a skill set I'll take with me for the rest of my life," he added.

    It's not been an easy road, requiring much time and effort to advance and seeing things most people will never see in their lifetimes.

    "It's very challenging," Stringer revealed. "There's a steep learning curve, but it's beneficial to get practice in different environments and have great supervisors and mentors."

    "That's the way you learn this trade: you watch one, you do one, and you teach one," he said about learning to conduct surgeries and procedures.

    He credits good leadership and guidance from others in his field for helping him along the way.

    "All of them," he said of his mentors, "they're all a great example of military surgeons who have a specialty in an area there is great need for in the military."

    While in Belize, Stringer continues to expand his knowledge in the field as part of a surgical team collaborating with urology medical providers at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, as well as other local doctors, to offer urology procedures and surgeries. The team is here to participate in the New Horizons Belize 2014 surgical readiness training exercise, or SURGRETE. The SURGRETE provides mutual training opportunities for Belize and U.S. medical providers.

    "Here we have the opportunity to improvise. We've rarely encountered clinical entities without the accoutrements, administrative support and ancillary support we're accustomed to," Stringer acknowledged. "Surgery, even in an environment we're accustomed to, can be full of surprises, and you never know exactly what you'll encounter. This strengthens our ability to adjust."

    Operating in Belize offers Stringer and the rest of the team the chance to hone their skills while also conducting free surgeries and procedures for eligible patients screened by the KHMC urology and medical staff. It's a beneficial opportunity to expand one's purview as they operate in a new environment, a valuable training experience to look back on when for more austere missions.

    "It's pretty rare we get the opportunity to do training missions like this abroad. We have the opportunity to do some procedures rarely treated in the U.S., but it's important to know how to do," Stringer said. "It's imperative to know how to do what the forefathers of this field developed into modern surgery."

    "I'm thrilled I chose this path," he added. "I think I'm being very well-prepared to be a urologic surgeon. ... Training missions like this are really important for the Air Force to improve relations with neighboring countries and also to prepare us for battlefield urology."



    Date Taken: 05.22.2014
    Date Posted: 05.24.2014 16:07
    Story ID: 131019
    Location: BELIZE CITY, BZ 
    Hometown: SYRACUSE, NY, US

    Web Views: 1,306
    Downloads: 0