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    US Army surgical detachment works alongside PNG doctors, patients

    US Army surgical detachment works alongside PNG doctors, patients

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes | (r) U.S. Army Maj. Priscilla Cha, general surgeon, along with other members of the...... read more read more

    PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    04.11.2024

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes 

    18th Medical Command

    PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu Ann Marie Yastishock visited Port Moresby General Hospital and saw the work of U.S. Army doctors, nurses, and medical specialists who are sharing best practices, learning, and helping patients as part of a U.S. Army surgical rotation.

    Members of the 135th Forward Resuscitative and Surgical Detachment, 65th Medical Brigade, arrived at Port Moresby General Hospital on April 8, 2024, and are working side-by-side with their Papua New Guinean medical peers for 10 days.

    The detachment consists of physicians, orthopedic and general surgeons, various nursing specialists, and Army medics.

    Port Moresby General Hospital and 18th MEDCOM are currently working on establishing an agreement to extend the U.S. Army’s partnership with the hospital on a long-term basis. This surgical rotation was facilitated by the Defense Cooperation Agreement which was signed in May 2023 and ratified in August 2023.

    Ambassador Yastishock met members of the detachment who are helping make a difference in the lives of the South Pacific nation’s citizens.

    “I want to say a huge thank you for the tour and for allowing us to come in and meet your staff but also this opportunity to meet the team from the U.S. Army,” Yastishock said. “I was very impressed with the areas of the hospital that we saw — the emergency room, the surgical unit, the ICU — and really just how well the staffs have been working side-by-side with each other.

    “Not only working side-by-side but exchanging those important areas of medical services — that is really the whole point of this rotation,” Yastishock said.

    “We are all very excited to be here … we feel very privileged to serve and treat the people of Papua New Guinea,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Stephen Watt, an anesthesiologist and the acting detachment commander for the team from the 135th FRSD.

    The detachment rapidly integrated with the hospital’s staff while learning its processes and procedures in less than one day.

    “We’ve been very impressed with the medical care we’ve seen from the medical staff here,” he said.

    The short amount of time the staff and his unit has spent together has already produced learning opportunities from both the Port Moresby General Hospital staff and the U.S. Army medical team.

    “We’ve already been sharing knowledge, conducted some classes, (and) exchanged best practice information with them,” Watt said. “We really appreciate the opportunity to observe the care that we’ve seen them provide to patients who have experienced conditions that we don’t traditionally see at our home hospital.”

    This is the second surgical rotation. The inaugural rotation took place in December 2023, less than six months after the Defense Cooperation Agreement between the governments of Papua New Guinea and the United States was ratified. The first surgical rotation featured the 8th FRSD, a similar U.S. Army medical detachment organic to 18th Medical Command which is based at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, alongside its higher command, U.S. Army Pacific.

    “To the members of the second U.S. surgical team, thank you for coming back,” said Port Moresby General Hospital CEO Dr. Paki Molumi, “we had a good visit from the first team that came to this hospital.”

    Molumi said the level six hospital is “at the higher end of the referral system in this country” and that it is progressing to become a specialist hospital.

    He added “we also have to provide primary and secondary care to a growing population. We service the entire city of over 1 million. There’s another province nearby with a population of over 300,000 — another neighboring province we serve with about 200,000 people so this hospital serves almost 1.5 million people.”

    Being a singular hospital responsible for providing level four, five, and six services with limited resources presents a challenge that breeds innovation and keen stewardship of medical supplies while balancing the needs of patients.

    “We are working with the team and the lawyers from POMGEN on an agreement so we can continue coming for quarterly visits,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jasmine Dede, the mission commander representing 18th MEDCOM said.

    Port Moresby General Hospital Director of Medical Services Dr. Kone Sobi added the agreement would be aligned with the established DCA and will help with “specifying the health engagement in the workspace.”

    This surgical rotation to Papua New Guinea is one of the numerous global health engagements the 18th Medical Command facilitates in support of U.S. Army Pacific’s overarching medical security cooperation strategy throughout the Indo-Pacific. 18th MEDCOM sets the Joint theater for medical operations while increasing its strategic posture by synchronizing and coordinating health service support and medical logistics across its more than 4,000 square mile area of responsibility.

    For more articles, photos and information, view our online platforms at:

    Website: www.army.mil/18medcom

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/18thMEDCOM/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/18th_medcom/

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.11.2024
    Date Posted: 04.12.2024 03:19
    Story ID: 468387
    Location: PORT MORESBY, PG
    Hometown: CAMP HUMPHREYS, KR
    Hometown: BARCELONETA, PR
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