U.S. military doctors arrived in San Salvador, El Salvador on June 5, 2022, to integrate with Salvadoran military and medical personnel at Militar Central Hospital for Operation Resolute Sentinel 22.
Resolute Sentinel 22 provides joint training and better preparation for U.S. civil engineers, medical professionals, and support personnel through humanitarian assistance activities in El Salvador.
“Here in El Salvador, we are working with local military hospital personnel to share knowledge and build partnerships with our allies here in Central America,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sean Griffiths, 959th Emergency Physician. Emergency Medicine Squadron. “They teach us what they can to deliver medicine in a low-resource environment and we teach them the advanced procedures and capabilities they are able to implement down here.”
American doctors stepped in to help with the day-to-day operations of Hospital Militar Central, a medical institution with more than 900 staff, 43 medical departments and serving more than 7,500 people.
“We are touching all areas of this hospital,” Captain Griffiths said. “My team was amazing despite the language barrier.”
When not working with patients, American and Salvadoran doctors trained together. They would share information and experiences or even go through drills and scenarios with each other that they see regularly.
“We need to increase our level of training and the best way to do that is through our allies like the United States,” said Salvadoran Army Maj. Carlos Diaz, head of the hospital’s medical division. central military. “We recognize that American doctors and nurses have a lot of experience. We have organized trauma exchanges, doing rounds and learning from them and also to see how to use our resources because we need training in trauma and intensive care.
Part of the training given by American doctors focused on how to better use the equipment they already have to help trauma cases.
“One of the main things we’ve taught them is ultrasound in the emergency department for trauma and non-traumatic issues that they have,” Capt Griffiths said. “They have an ultrasound here, but it’s not used very often and that can be a game-changer when seconds count in terms of resuscitating a critically ill patient and getting familiar with that ultrasound. If we can do that, that would be a big win.
While the training is being improved, it has also been discovered that some basic equipment is also missing.
“Two things I would want here immediately and in large quantities if I could bring or request would be the use of pre-hospital tourniquets and also IV starter kits,” Captain Griffiths said. “This hospital relies heavily on sterilization procedures and not disposable kits. If they had disposable IV sets and tourniquets, it would have a major impact here.
With this new training and equipment, it could hopefully save lives in El Salvador.
“This kind of training is like planting a seed,” Major Diaz said. “We hope that our doctors will be open to this training. It’s good for them. At the end of the day, you can ask them, and they express that it’s the best way to prepare for real scenarios.
Returning home, doctors across the United States were able to witness skilled medical personnel providing high-quality medical care with limited resources. This can better prepare them for deployed environments when not everything is available to you in a hospital.
“Working with Salvadoran personnel has been a game changer for me in how I see the future in an expeditionary environment,” said Captain Griffiths. “I think sometimes in this environment, when you’re in a tent hospital, you think ‘I can’t do certain things because I don’t have the supplies or the staff’, but here it’s been proven that you can have a high level of care despite limited resources.
By sharing information and providing medical care to the Salvadoran people, American doctors have strengthened our partnership with El Salvador.
“Hopefully this is the start of a partnership,” Major Diaz said. “Hopefully in the coming months or next year, with what we have learned this week, we can do much better next time. Hopefully in the future we will have another opportunity to exchange information.