Sgt. 1st Class Stacy Niles, 214th Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office
FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA, Iraq – Iraqi doctors in Wasit province are receiving valuable knowledge from U.S. military doctors through a training course at Forward Operating Base Delta.
Doctors from the 948th Forward Surgical Team and Company C, 26th Brigade Support Battalion are giving lectures and seminars to six Wasit doctors twice a week for eight weeks at the FOB's medical facility.
The training's inaugural curriculum was based on requests from the doctors, said Col. Robert Monson, the 948th FST commander and a nurse anesthesiologist from Provo, Utah. The 948th FST is comprised of surgeons, anesthetists, and other intensive care unit specialists.
"Instead of telling them what they need, we asked them what they needed and supplied it," Monson said, adding the doctors wanted training in advanced trauma life support.
The Wasit director general of health has plans to set up an emergency room and two intensive care unit bays.
"The doctors are very receptive and you know that because they keep coming back despite all the challenges," said Col. Emil Lesho, the medical facility's senior physician.
Dr. Hussein Adnan, an ophthalmologist with the Al Zahra General Hospital in al Kut, said the training is a good start towards understanding and communication. "I wish we could be bed-side conducting the training. That way, we can see the healing process and see how the doctors interact with patients in the field," Adnan said. "We can catch a lot without a lot of talking."
The U.S. doctors were impressed with the Wasit doctors' eagerness for knowledge.
"They have a high level of desire to learn," said Capt. Sam Bergener, a certified nurse anesthetist from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Bergener is assigned to the Army Medical Professional Management Command at Fort McPherson, Ga., but is attached to the 948th FST. "What really limits them is the technology to implement the things we are talking about."
Lesho agreed that technological capabilities limit what they can teach the physicians.
"It's not useful to teach advanced techniques if they don't have the equipment and medicine needed to facilitate it," he said.
Bergener and the other practitioners attempt to provide the doctors with specifics they need to know and want to know, but not all the doctors' specialties are represented, said Bergener.
"The speakers talk about their specialties," Lesho said. "The specialties dictate the type of lectures we give, and we give the best lectures based on our qualifications."
Monson said he is working with the 86th Combat Support Hospital to train for medical specialties such as ophthalmology.