Joint Task Force Bravo Treats 1,300 Patients in Peru
By Senior Airman Shaun Emery, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
PISCO, Peru, Aug. 21, 2007 Members of Joint Task Force Bravo's medical disaster relief task force, deployed from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, continue to assist citizens here following a magnitude 8 earthquake that struck the region Aug. 15.
Air Force Maj. Joseph Hallock, a Joint Task Force Bravo Medical Element pediatric nurse practitioner, checks the heartbeat of a patient at the medical relief site in Pisco, Peru. During the three-day mission, medical personnel provided care to more than 1,500 men, women and children. The task force deployed from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Aug. 17 to provide medical care to the people of Pisco following a magnitude 8 earthquake that devastated the region. Photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Over the past two days, medical team members have treated more than 1,300 patients with a wide variety of conditions. Most patients required medicines for gastro-intestinal illnesses, respiratory illnesses, minor wounds, and aches and pains.
In addition to basic medicines and medical care, members of the field team diagnosed a case of appendicitis in the field and quickly had the patient transported to a mobile surgical team stationed at the airport.
"When the patient arrived, she approached the front of the line with her mother," said Air Force Capt. William Ingram, an emergency medicine physician's assistant. "We listened to her story, and she had three days of worsening abdominal pain. We laid her down to do an evaluation and determined that she needed to be taken away immediately."
News of the American medical team's presence traveled quickly through the town and to other agencies providing assistance. When other agencies arrived to help, members of Joint Task Force Bravo's medical team were able to pack up and move to another location to provide more care.
"Once more agencies arrived, we realized we would be able to move locations and provide help to more people," said Air Force Master Sgt. Deborah Davis, the task force’s noncommissioned officer in charge. "There are so many people in need. I'm glad we could offer our services to so many people."
As the mission wrapped up, many of the medical team members reflected on the time they spent in Peru.
"The fact that we executed within 20 hours of notification and were the first American contingent speaks volumes of our capability," said Air Force Maj. Paul Valdez, medical operations officer in charge. "It just goes to show that our military is capable of providing humanitarian assistance anytime anywhere in the world."
(Air Force Senior Airman Shaun Emery is assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo Public Affairs.)