Back to Top Skip to main content

BAMC, Argentine Army medical providers share COVID-19 best practices

Video teleconference image Argentine Army Col. Oscar Zarich, Argentine Partner Nation Liaison Officer, U.S. Army South, left, moderates a COVID-19 subject matter expert exchange between doctors from the Argentine Army and Brooke Army Medical Center, Oct. 21, 2020. The video teleconference consisted of a panel of medical professionals discussing lessons learned to provide a compilation of best practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other health-related topics. (Photo by Robert A. Whetstone, Brooke Army Medical Center.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Technology | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Public Health | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Medical professionals from around the world are using technology to discuss COVID-19 best practices and share lessons learned. The Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas and Argentine Army’s Central Military Medical Hospital did not let 5,600 miles of separation keep them from discussing best practices against COVID-19.

U.S. Army South facilitated the virtual subject matter expert (SME) exchange between BAMC and CMMH, located in Buenos Aires, which touched on numerous topics and provided lessons learned for the participants. The exchange opened an avenue allowing doctors from both countries to discuss critical aspects of combating the disease to help protect the force and enhance readiness, while strengthening and building partnerships.

The exchange of best practices focused not only on readiness, but how to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, staff protection, research and development, and testing protocols. A total of 17 medical practitioners participated in the virtual SME exchange.

Although they practice their craft in different countries, both teams understood the importance of reducing risk to staff as paramount to providing safe, quality care to service members and the local communities they serve.

At the beginning of the pandemic, BAMC started with a deliberate operations order to assess staff, logistics and bed expansion capacity. “We have many simultaneous missions to conduct,” said U.S. Army Col. Michael Wirt, BAMC deputy commanding officer. “Not just the mission to provide health care within our hospital; we also deploy some of our staff to respond to local, regional, and national requirements to support the COVID-19 crisis.”

In response to the pandemic, BAMC reduced its inpatient census, tightly managed personal protective equipment until the supply line became more predictable, limited the number of entrances to the hospital, conducted screening of everyone coming into the building, and began drive-through testing, in order to reduce the chance of infection in the hospital.

Both BAMC and CMMH treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in separate areas. The CMMH team stated that COVID-19 areas follow strict protocols, requiring PPE in all entrance points. These specific wards are routinely disinfected and CMMH employs a security committee that ensures the non-COVID-19 area stays COVID-19-free.

Supply and demand, particularly with PPE and COVID-19 testing material, was a concern for both BAMC and CMMH. BAMC continues its partnership with University Health System and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council to provide Level I Trauma care for 22 counties, encompassing 2.2 million people, even in the face of unprecedented healthcare system stress across the region. There are over 14 million people in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, and CMMH provides care to the military and general population. Even with PPE being such a prime commodity, CMMH manages to test their hospital staff of over 2,400 every 15 days, while still administering about 5,000 COVID-19 tests a day.

U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Osborn, BAMC deputy commander for surgical services remarked on the trauma and emergency platform used to coordinate pandemic response with the local area and non-military medical healthcare systems. “That allowed for discussions on resources, testing, and policies on managing the pandemic, from a regional standpoint.”

The U.S. Air Force Secretarial Designee program allows BAMC to transport and accept extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patients for complex critical care when hospital capacity allows. The ECMO program provides significant community support for the sickest COVID-19 patients while furthering the readiness of numerous critical care personnel. 

“Through the infectious disease and public health communities, we have been working with public health in the state,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Heather Yun, BAMC deputy commander for medical services. “We’re one of many military health system hospitals in the United States, and all of our subject matter experts have been passing best practices back and forth and actually developing clinical practice guidelines. We’re on the sixth version [of the COVID-19 guidelines].”

Because of the fluid nature and constant learning surrounding COVID-19, protocols have been continuously changing for healthcare professionals. “We’ve had to write a lot of things in pencil, and rewrite them in pencil again two weeks later,” Yun explained. “We certainly follow CDC guidelines when it comes to things like infection prevention and control. When it comes to treatment protocols, we follow the science. Current protocols involve Dexamethasone and Remdesivir for hospitalized patients on oxygen.”

Practices and procedures that require high exposure is an obstacle that medical treatment facilities have to negotiate in order to maintain a safe environment during the pandemic.

When community transmission has been high, many non-emergency procedures are postponed until conditions are favorable. “We haven’t been doing a lot of elective surgeries or aerosol-generating procedures when we have a lot of community transmission,” said Yun. All patients are treated as a potential COVID-19 patient, guarding against the risk of transmission, she stated.

Communicating as a staff during the pandemic also offered challenges. CMMH and BAMC have had to rely on off-the-shelf technology to conduct meetings that would have otherwise been face-to-face.

BAMC is one of the participating sites of the clinical trials for Remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 infected patients. BAMC is also involved in trials with convalescent antibodies/convalescent plasma.

As part of the Operation Warp Speed goal to deliver safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics by January 2021, five DOD locations, to include BAMC, have been identified to participate in AstraZeneca’s the Phase III trial evaluating the vaccine candidate.  

You also may be interested in...

Is It Your Time to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Infographic
3/5/2021
This graphic informs TRICARE beneficiaries which tier they fall into as their local military treatment facility or clinic offers the vaccine.

This Infographic informs TRICARE beneficiaries which tier they fall into as their local military treatment facility or clinic offers the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2

Infographic
6/5/2020
Infographic describing how DoD was able to conduct genome sequencing on the COVID-19 virus

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes #COVID19, plays a vital role in force health protection efforts within the DoD. To jumpstart sequencing efforts, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch's Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response applied a collaborative approach to sequencing capabilities. Resulting sequence data will provide critical information about transmission patterns, track diagnostic effectiveness, and guide the development and evaluation of medical countermeasures.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Coronavirus | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance

Mononucleosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Mononucleosis

A specimen is tested for mononucleosis at the medical clinic on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

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

Influenza

Infographic
7/1/2019
Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Recommended Content:

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

Zika

Infographic
7/1/2019
Zika

Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

Recommended Content:

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

Psittacosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Psittacosis

Green-winged Macaw. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

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

Cyclosporiasis

Infographic
6/1/2019
Cyclosporiasis

Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in a U.S. Air Force Training Population, Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, 2018 While bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks, 2 Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)– Lackland, TX, training populations experienced an outbreak of diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis in June and July 2018. Cases were identified from outpatient medical records and responses to patient questionnaires.

Recommended Content:

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

Norovirus

Infographic
6/1/2019
Norovirus

Norovirus Outbreak in Army Service Members, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 2018 In May 2018, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses due to norovirus occurred at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The outbreak lasted 14 days, and a total of 91 cases, of which 8 were laboratory confirmed and 83 were suspected, were identified.

Recommended Content:

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

Female infertility

Infographic
6/1/2019
Female infertility

Female infertility, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2018 This report presents the incidence and prevalence of diagnosed female infertility among active component service women. During 2013–2018, 8,744 active component women of childbearing potential were diagnosed with infertility for the first time, resulting in an overall incidence of 79.3 cases per 10,000 person-years (p-yrs).

Recommended Content:

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

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Ambulatory Visits

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and characteristics of ambulatory healthcare visits of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during 2018.

Recommended Content:

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

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and distributions of hospitalizations of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during calendar year 2018.

Recommended Content:

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

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens

Infographic
5/1/2019
Absolute and relative morbidity burdens

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable To Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This annual summary uses a standard disease classification system (modified for use among U.S. military members) and several healthcare burden measures to quantify the impacts of various illnesses and injuries among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018.

Recommended Content:

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

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various Illnesses and Injuries, Non-Service Member Beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Morbidity Burdens

The current report represents an update and provides a summary of care provided to non-service members in the MHS during calendar year 2018. Healthcare burden estimates are stratified by direct versus outsourced care and across 4 age groups of healthcare recipients.

Recommended Content:

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

Heat Illness

Infographic
4/1/2019
Heat Illness

This report summarizes reportable medical events of heat illness as well as heat illness-related hospitalizations and ambulatory visits among active component service members during 2018 and compares them to the previous 4 years. Episodes of heat stroke and heat exhaustion are summarized separately.

Recommended Content:

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

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4

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.