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Sailors Conduct Medical Knowledge Exchange with Honduran Doctors, Nurses to Kick Off Southern Partnership Station 17

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristen Cheyenne Yarber, Southern Partnership Station 17 Public Affairs

TRUJILLO, Honduras (NNS) -- Sailors of Southern Partnership Station-Expeditionary Fast Transport 17 (SPS-EPF 17) visited Dr. Salvador Paredes Hospital, July 25, in Trujillo, Honduras, to provide valuable medical treatment information to staff members.

Seventeen Honduran doctors and nurses crowded into a conference room with Navy medical officers for four hours to absorb the potentially life-saving techniques and exchange medical knowledge.

Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Auten, the Emergency Medicine Associate Program director and physician at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, presented training information in English, while Lt. Juliana Gutierrez, a women's health nurse at Naval Hospital Pensacola, interpreted the entire lecture into Spanish.

"Lt. Gutierrez really opened up a lot of doors for us," said Auten, who was able to get to know everyone in the room and their medical experience level by having an interpreter.

After determining the group's medical background, Auten catered the presentation to their skill level and available resources. The main subjects of the presentation were intraosseous lines and ultrasounds.

Many members of the group took photographs of the slideshow. Others took notes on their phones or notepads.

"You could see that they were capturing everything we were saying, and really appreciating all the extra information we were giving and learning so much more," said Gutierrez.

However, the hospital employees were not the only ones learning valuable lessons. Due to the hospital's lack of resources, local physicians have used inventive techniques to perform certain procedures. Auten listened intently, knowing the techniques they discussed could potentially save U.S. troops.

"When we deploy, we're sometimes in very challenging environments, stripped of our resources," said Auten. "We have to be very innovative, and I learned some innovation from them today."

Near the end of the lecture, one of the Honduran physicians asked if they could bring in their own ultrasound machine and learn from hands-on experience.

Auten had used a similar ultrasound machine in the past and allowed the group to practice conducting ultrasound examinations on his body.

"We wanted to go into this with a servant's heart," said Auten. "To truly learn from them and try to give them what knowledge we could."

The experience was both humbling and gratifying for the Sailors who took part in the visit.

"It is a privilege," said Gutierrez. "My heart was pounding with excitement."

SPS-EPF 17's medical team will continue to train and assist Honduran medical personnel as the mission continues.

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