News: Health Response Team treats local patients during FA HUM 2011
Story by 2nd Lt. Joel Banjo-Johnson
CUMUTO BARACKS, Trinidad and Tobago – Praises of gratitude and appreciation were heard in the operating room of the Health Response Team facility when a local man from Trinidad and Tobago thanked Lt. Col Mark Scherrer, 60th Medical Group general surgeon, for removing a benign tumor from the back of his head.
“He was so happy,” said Scherrer. “I’m glad we could help.”
More than 200 patients received treatment within the Expeditionary Medical Support HRT facility April 9 during the second day of the Fuerzas Alidas Humanitarias or Allied Forces Humanitarian Exercise.
Although the EMEDS HRT was designed as a disaster relief facility, the 60th MDG utilized the HRT to provide primary care to hundreds of locals in the area.
“With this exercise, we are demonstrating that if a disaster occurs, we’ll be ready, but what we did today was also very important,” said Maj. Marianne Hafler, 60th MDG primary care nurse manager. “We wanted to take some time to deliver medical services to the Trinidad citizens and show that we are also here to support them and care for them however we can.”
Patients traveled from all regions of Trinidad and Tobago to receive medical care from U.S. Air Force medical personnel assigned to Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
“You all are the best,” said Stacay Alexander, a primary care patient. “My husband told me that you all were coming today so I had to come here to get a second opinion. You all are very organized and clean and I’m thankful that you are here to see us. I’m very pleased with the services that I and my daughter have received.”
People came with a variety of ailments requiring treatment from all functions of the HRT to include dental, X-ray, pharmaceuticals, pediatrics, obstetrics, and laboratory services, obstetrics, and health administration.
“My daughter has been complaining about stomach pains so I wanted to see what you all could do for her,” said Janet Goddard, a citizen of Trinidad. “I knew if I came here, you could help. I have an appointment with the dentist but I’m nervous. I don’t like going to the dentist but your dentist seems nice.”
The HRT is a key aspect of FA HUM 2011, demonstrating its capabilities for the very first time. The team will continue to see patients the following day.
“You all have done a very good job,” said Elizabeth James, resident in Trinidad. “We heard about the services from the radio announcements and the newspaper…so far so good.”