Beyond the Horizon 2018
From July 11- 21 SAMMC residents, Genevieve Rambau (2019) and Tierney Shannon (2020), helped provide surgical care to the people of Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, during a USAF MEDRETE. They were accompanied by three anesthesiologists from SAMMC and two attending orthopaedic surgeons from Wright Patterson AFB and Eglin AFB (Col Brandon Horne and ColShea Brannan, respectively). During their 11 day trip, they performed 24 cases including hand soft tissue mass excisions, geriatric hip fracture fixation, non-unions and pediatric both bone forearm fractures. The team's ingenuity was put to the test overcoming a lack of technology and limited equipment. Over long screws were cut down to the desired size using wire cutters and printed radiographs were used with no C-arm available. When no implants were available, Air Force technicians would rely on the community medical supply store for suitable substitutes. Though the majority of the team's time was spent at the hospital, they enjoyed a brief respite from the dense jungle with its oversized insects at the coastal military resort. The experience was highly rewarding for all involved and a valuable lesson to our residents on the challenges of surgical care in austere environments. We look forward to continuing this mission as part of our military-specific curriculum. Thanks to Genevieve and Tierney for performing admirably in a demanding setting and reaffirming the surgical and professional excellence of SAMMC residents!