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News > Dispatch from the Front: CJTH operating room makes medical developments
Dispatch from the Front: CJTH makes medical advances, transforms people
Army Lt. Col. Rob Sheridan, Navy Lt. William Ward and Air Force Maj. Kullie Pichakron, all surgeons at Craig Joint Theater Hospital, perform a cholecystectomy on a patient. The operating room at CJTH is the most advanced in the U.S. Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
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Dispatch from the Front: CJTH operating room makes medical developments

Posted 3/24/2011   Updated 3/24/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/24/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- The operating room at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital here rivals operating rooms found in the U.S.

The CJTH is a place where advancements are made in medicine every day.

"We are learning new methods, such as how to faster spread antibiotic beads, which we are submitting for an Air Force Best Practice," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Wick, CJTH operating room orthopedic technician.

In addition to medical advancements, transformations are also happening with people.

"The morale in our unit is so high, we truly have the wingman concept because we all put our personal views aside to do the same job," said Sergeant Wick, deployed here from Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. "I have even seen Airmen who were not doing so well at their home station, become our star Airmen. This place changes people."

"We have also started a program for local children who live in an isolated world due to medical conditions," added Staff Sgt. Shawn Elmandorf, OR technician. "We sterilize coloring books, crayons and toys so that they can play with them."

Being deployed here is different, especially with the type of trauma that is seen.

"Working at Wilford Hall is more predictable," said Sergeant Wick. "It's a real eye opener, but the best part is that you get to think on your feet. The surgeons are more likely to listen to you when you have an idea too."

"It's not like you can call a local hospital to borrow a piece of equipment, but when we lack something, we always figure out another way to get it done," said Sergeant Elmandorf, deployed here from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Both of the sergeants recalled a recent incident that really impacted them.

They explained that one day they had two patients, one was a U.S. Soldier and the other was the prisoner who shot him.

"When a comrade comes in, it strikes a chord," said Sergeant Wick. "We had to put ourselves in the right frame of mind, but I know that leaving here, there will be no regrets because helping someone gives a great sense of reward.

"You get such an adrenaline rush that at the end of the day when you think of all that happened in just one day, it amazes you," he added.

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