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A joint operation in the operating room

Military medical colleagues from Japan and the United States worked to improve their battlefield interoperability in April 2019 by simulating a joint operation to treat a patient with a gunshot wound.

The department of surgical services at U. S. Navy Hospital Yokosuka (USNHY) welcomed its counterpart from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Yokosuka Hospital to perform a simulated operation that also required a hernia repair and scar revision, according to a report from USNHY.

“The primary goal of this exercise was to focus on a small team concept, working together in the surgical suite performing a general surgery case,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Glenn Bradford, a perioperative nurse who serves as director of surgical services at USNHY. “The small group was able to overcome some of the early training obstacles with language and preoperative preparation variances between the two teams.”

The simulated operation was the result of a 10-month partnership between the two medical teams.

“Our efforts are to further the goal of interoperability between ourselves and our host nation,” Bradford said. “It is essential that we understand our strengths and limitations when working jointly but, more importantly, strategies and tools to sustain the things we do well together and create methods to overcome the obstacles identified during simulated scenarios.”

Successes achieved in previous joint exercises are the result of dedicated efforts to bridge language barriers and incorporate the unique perspectives of each medical team.

“This evolution utilized a newer, more efficient, structure centered around a small team concept that allowed for members of both surgical teams the opportunity to work closely and navigate their unique difficulties on a one-to-one basis that lent an air of camaraderie to their work,” Bradford said.  FORUM Staff

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