Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is a great training ground for doctors who need “trauma experience” prior to a deployment. And that is precisely what two Georgian doctors did for nearly a month at the Army hospital.
Dr. Malkhaz Kupreishvili, an anesthesiologist and hospital administrator at Georgia’s central military hospital, and Dr. Gocha Kintsurashvili, a surgeon at the same facility, arrived Sept. 11 at LRMC to observe what the Americans do best – provide trauma care to wounded servicemembers.
“It is a chance for us to improve our knowledge and care of trauma patients,” they said. “We need to be aware of the specifics of battlefield injuries because we soon will deploy either to Iraq or Afghanistan.”
“A lot of stuff we do is very specific to military and combative surgery – gunshots and IED blasts,” said Maj. Raymond Fang, trauma/critical care surgeon at LRMC. “It’s good for them to have an idea of what to anticipate. It can help them avoid problems, both medical and logistical.”
Both have seen their share of battlefield wounded at LRMC. They performed rounds each morning with doctors in the Intensive Care Unit.
Each patient’s injuries, case and care were examined and at the end, the Americans and Georgians did a sort of recap, where questions were asked and methods of care were explained.
“We went over patient issues,” said Major Fang. “Why did you do this versus that? They told us how they do it. We told them how we do it. It was a good exchange of ideas and information.”
The duo also had the opportunity to observe several surgical cases in the operating room. Although the Georgian surgeon spoke no English, his forays in the OR went smoothly.
“There is no language in the operating room,” Dr. Kintsurashvili said through his colleague. “With no English, I still functioned fine in the OR.”
Their visit was not limited to just surgical and patient care. They learned how the entire hospital functioned, from the Information Management Division to administration to the Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center, which oversees in and outbound patients.
“High-quality medical teams work here at Landstuhl and they entirely show us their capabilities,” said Dr. Kupreishvili. “The U.S. is a powerful country that can provide the best medical situations at all times. We may find some experiences that we cannot afford. That is a big difference. But it is good to see what can be done.”
Knowledge is power. And whatever can be gained can translate into saving the lives of wounded servicemembers.
“We want to shape our Army, military staff and take as much as we can from this,” Dr. Kintsurashvili said through his colleague. “Georgia is a part of the coalition. We have troops deployed downrange in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. This is very important for us.”