Combined Medical Staff Provides Quality Care

American Forces Press Service

FARAH CITY, Afghanistan, Oct. 25, 2007 - Afghan and American medical staffs recently combined resources to provide quality medical care to the local people.

When Army Dr. (Maj.) Elizabeth Lawrance, Farah Provincial Reconstruction Team surgeon, was faced with several hernia operations, she called on a local urology expert, Dr. Rabani, and Rahim, a nurse anesthetist, from Farah hospital to assist.

"The reason that I wanted this physician here is because he is trained in urology," Lawrance said. "There are seven or eight different ways to repair a hernia. When we work together, we can compare thoughts and ideas ... and (discuss) what goes on in this patient population, which is a little bit different than what goes on in the United States."

Over a two-day period, Rabani, Lawrance and nurse anesthetists Army Capt. Eric Binder and Rahim worked side by side, operating on two village elders.

"We had very good rapport," said Binder, speaking about Rahim. "I'm interested in field medicine and what we can do if we're out in the field and have to do things. He lives that. He does that every day. I'm going to show him some of the techniques we use for general anesthesia. I'm excited about him coming back tomorrow."

Rahim has recently returned to Farah City, where he works as head nurse in the Farah hospital. "I have learned many things from Binder. We discussed the age of the drugs, the contraindication of the drugs and how to use the drugs. That was helpful for me and all the people working in the department of anesthesiology," Rahim said.

While the primary function of the forward surgical team at the Farah Provisional Reconstruction Team is trauma support for International Security Assistance Force and coalition forces, the staff also provides trauma support to Afghan national security forces, and in their spare time, medical personnel offer elective surgery to the local populace. There is an orthopedic surgeon, a general surgeon, a nurse anesthetist, licensed practical nurses and surgical scrub techs. The team plans to continue the joint operations with medical staff from Farah City, exchanging thoughts and ideas as it works to provide quality medical care to the local citizens, officials said.

(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)

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