News: A dose for hope
Story by Sgt. True Thao
BARAHONA, Dominican Republic – The U.S. military and partner nations are conducting a Medical Readiness Training Exercise this week as part of the humanitarian civic assistance mission, Beyond the Horizon 2014. The exercise includes stations for optometry, gynecology, preventive medicine, dental, and a pharmacy station. Local citizens are depending on the medical care and the medication to prevent serious illnesses.
Members of the 352nd Combat Support Hospital out of Dublin, California, assigned to Task Force Larimar, are in charge of filling prescription medications for the local citizens. They understand how important it is that the patients receive the medications to treat any illness.
“We provided support by filling prescriptions from all doctors participating in this mission,” said Army Sgt. Yin Xu, from San Francisco, and a pharmacy technician with the 352nd.
With the local citizens unable to comprehend the English instructions, translators were in place to explain to them the steps in taking the prescription. Not knowing how the prescription medication works and how to use it can cause serious problems to the patients taking the medication.
“The doctors will provide the directions and the translators would help explain to the patients in Spanish,” said Xu. “The translators also write the directions in Spanish.”
With more than 500 patients a day, the medical unit goes by a formulary to ensure that they have enough medical supplies to treat all the patients. Some members of the 352nd arrived about a week a head of the MEDRETE to inventory the medical supplies to ensure their were enough to give out.
“We follow a formulary that lists all the medication on hand,” said Xu. “We fill about an average of 1,000 prescriptions per day.”
With BTH involving partner nations as well, communication is vital to ensure that the correct prescription is filled for the patients. Different countries may have different names for medications and one incorrect dosage can be costly.
“We invite the doctors to the pharmacy to have them take a look at the medication,” said Xu. “We talk to them to confirm it's the correct medication.”
Being part of Beyond the Horizon last year in Belize helped the medical unit prepared for this year's mission and allowed them to work with other nations.
“A lot of the training we did in Belize was similar to this training,” said Spc. Andy Truong, a native of Hayward, California, and a member of the 352nd. “It has helped us a lot while conducting the medical training here.”
As the MEDRETES continue until the end of this week, the 352nd will continue to play their role in hopes to treat as many patients as they can, giving them hope for a brighter future.