Back to Top Skip to main content

U.S. doctors save Italian patient hours from death

U.S. Air Force Capt. Melanie Gates, left, Capt. Nick McKenzie, and Capt. Richard Thorsted, all who are Special Operations Command Forward Northwest Africa ground surgical team members, gather for a photo at Nigerien Air Base 101, Niamey. The three doctors recently finished medical school and are serving their first deployment. They are deployed from Travis Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo) U.S. Air Force Capt. Melanie Gates, left, Capt. Nick McKenzie, and Capt. Richard Thorsted, all who are Special Operations Command Forward Northwest Africa ground surgical team members, gather for a photo at Nigerien Air Base 101, Niamey. The three doctors recently finished medical school and are serving their first deployment. They are deployed from Travis Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement | Partners

NIAMEY, Niger — What began as a normal day eventually became an 18-hour sequence of events never to be forgotten.

Doctors and staff of Special Operations Command Forward (SOCFWD) – North and West Africa’s Ground Surgical Team (GST), a tenant unit assigned to Nigerien Air Base 101, Niger, were notified that an Italian woman recently suffered life-threatening injuries that required their attention.

The Italian woman was originally receiving care at a local hospital in Niamey when the GST was contacted by Italian military officials because the local hospital didn’t have the resources needed to save the patient’s life.

When U.S. Air Force doctors from SOCFWD – North and West Africa’s GST initially reviewed the computed tomography, or CT scans, they immediately knew there was more serious damage than what was reported as only a liver bleed by the local hospital.

“Upon reviewing the CT scans, there was also evidence of free air in the abdomen, concerning for a small bowel injury,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Melanie Gates, GST emergency medical physician. “When the patient arrived, her skin was white and she was in serious pain with minimal responsiveness. Her vitals were much worse than previously reported.”

The patient had a fever, a very high heart rate and low oxygen levels.

“First thoughts upon seeing patient … she wasn’t doing well,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Richard Thorsted, GST anesthesiologist. “She arrived to us in critical condition with a high fever.”

Thorsted and other GST members agreed that emergency surgery would be needed. Immediately, the team directed the 768th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron medical team to set up a walking blood bank. Additionally, they coordinated with various units and agencies from the 768th EABS, and Italian, French and German military forces to set up airlift and transportation to a larger medical facility in Senegal.

The patient is currently in good condition and recovering from her injuries in Naples, Italy, according to the GST staff.

“I’m especially thankful for the total team effort to do what is right, and not to let bureaucratic issues delay critical care,” said Air Force Capt. Nick McKenzie, GST general surgeon. “This was somebody’s mother, or wife, or daughter.”

McKenzie, Thorsted, and Gates, all of whom recently graduated from medical school and finished their residency programs, credit their success to a rigorous military training program they attended prior to deploying to Africa.

They all had run through clinical scenarios and situations to be able to work in austere conditions.

“Our training kicked in. We all knew our roles and worked well together,” Gates said. “I believe our training was crucial for our development as a team and ability to handle situations like this.”

Gates also said trust was crucial in the team’s ability to work in a stressful situation.

“I know that our ICU nurse, Capt. Jessica Bertke can trouble shoot any of our equipment and is the glue that holds our team together,” Gates explained. “I know that our anesthesiologist, Capt. Richard Thorsted, is meticulous at his job and is already steps ahead when problems arise. I know that our surgeon, Capt Nicholas McKenzie, has operated in much more austere conditions and would trust him to operate on my own family.”

Gates also mentioned that their scrub tech, Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Rios, has worked closely with McKenzie and can predict what he will need.

“I know that Master Sergeant Lou Campbell is always behind the scenes advocating not only for the patient and dealing with medivac logistics, but advocating for our team,” Gates said.

McKenzie said the support from the SOCFWD-NWA and air operating base staff in supporting his team’s decisions was one of the most crucial elements to his team’s success. He also thanked the Italian military doctor Valantina Di Nitto, who translated information regarding the patient into French, German, English, and Italian for the multinational military units at Air Base 101.

“My takeaway is personally knowing that we did something to help another human being,” Thorsted said. “There is an inner peace knowing you’ve done your best and you made an impact in someone’s life.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.     

You also may be interested in...

New training mannequins help Soldiers save lives

Article
11/28/2018
Soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia, train one another on using the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable system, a medical trauma training mannequin. Personnel from the office of the Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, brought new, technologically advanced medical training mannequins to Fort Benning to increase the realism of medical trauma training and ultimately to save lives and limbs. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick Albright)

The realism of it creates that white-knuckle sensation and adrenalin for the Soldier

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Rabies

Infographic
11/20/2018
Rabies

Although Germany is rabies-free for terrestrial land mammals, rabies exposure remains a concern for U.S. military personnel assigned there because of personal and military travel and deployments to rabies endemic countries. Deployments have become much more variable both in location and duration. Deployments have increasingly focused on enhancing partnerships and peacekeeping.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Cold Weather Injuries

Infographic
11/20/2018
Cold Weather Injuries

This update summarizes the frequencies, incidence rates, and correlates of risk of cold injuries among members of both active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces during the past 5 years.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Malaria

Infographic
11/20/2018
Malaria

This report describes a cluster of 11 soldiers with vivax malaria among U.S. military personnel who trained at Dagmar North training area, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ), in the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Pararescue medics rehearse for unique mission

Article
11/7/2018
Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing revalidate their response time in the event of a catastrophic, life-threatening occurrence within the capsule of a human space flight launch at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. This exercise marked the first time that the Department of Defense, NASA and commercial providers have exercised this type of event utilizing twelve live patients and the full array of air assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)

The 920th RQW is ready to support the next era of human space flight

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DoD, FDA working together to benefit warfighters

Article
11/2/2018
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner (left) and Mr. Thomas McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (right), congratulate on another following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DoD and the FDA.  The ceremony acknowledges the existing partnership and the future collaboration on accessing life-saving medical products for U.S. troops on the battlefield.

DoD and FDA leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to foster and prioritize the development of critical medical products

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DoD Flu VE

Infographic
10/26/2018
DoD Flu VE

Each season, several entities within the(DoD) perform surveillance for influenza among beneficiaries and utilize these data to perform VE analyses to estimate how well the seasonal vaccine protects against medically-attended influenza.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health | Influenza Summary and Reports

Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

Infographic
10/26/2018
Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

This study evaluated incidence of pre-deployment family problem diagnoses and psychiatric medical evacuations among a population of active component service members without a history of previous mental health diagnoses, who deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility for the first time between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Infographic
10/26/2018
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The purpose of this study was to update previous MSMR analyses of the incidence of acute Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) among U.S. active component women using a 21-year surveillance period from 1996 through 2016. A secondary objective was to report on the proportion of service women with previously diagnosed PID who were subsequently diagnosed with infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Navy entomologists team up to build disease detection capacity in Honduras

Article
10/18/2018
Navy LCDR Kimberly Edgel (right) and Carmen Lucas examine a positive malaria blood smear at U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit, or NAMRU, 6 in Callao, Peru. (U.S. Navy photo)

Leishmaniasis, malaria, dengue and Chagas disease are known to be present in Honduras

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement

Bringing Comfort 2018

Video
10/17/2018
The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

The USNS Comfort is a state-of-the-art hospital ship, and it’s scheduled to deploy to Central and South America for Continuing Promise 2018.

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement

USNS Comfort conducts mass casualty training exercise

Article
10/15/2018
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Lammers, an anesthesiologist assigned to the hospital ship USNS Comfort, practices patient transfer during a mass casualty exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph DeLuco)

A mass casualty event, by nature, is chaotic

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Sailors, Afghan medical professionals team up to improve medical care

Article
10/10/2018
Navy Lt. Cdr. Travis J. Fitzpatrick, senior nurse for Kandahar Airfield NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit, demonstrates a technique on how to clear the airway of a patient to Afghan medical staff members during a medical advisory visit at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital, Camp Hero in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Staff members from the Role III conduct routine visits to KRMH to train and advise Afghan medical staff. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield)

The Kandahar Regional Military Hospital is run by Afghan military and civilian medical professionals

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability | Partners | Global Health Security Agenda

USNS Comfort to deploy to Central and South America

Article
10/9/2018
The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, en route to South America and Central America where it will conduct an 11-week medical assistance mission working closely with host-nation health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras. This mission marks the sixth time the hospital ship will provide medical assistance in the region and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy file photo)

The ship’s crew will include more than 200 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses and technicians

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Partners | Global Health Security Agenda

Gynecologic Disorders

Infographic
10/3/2018
Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 121 - 135 Page 9 of 44

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.