June 30th, 2009 (Austin, TX)
Dr. Scott A. Seidel, M.D. F.A.C.S. and Dr. Phillip J. Church, M.D. F.A.C.S., both Vascular Surgeons with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, P.A. (CTVS), recently volunteered to fill slots in the surgery rotation of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany where soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.
Dr. Seidel volunteered January 31 – February 14, 2009 and Dr. Church volunteered June 6 – June 21, 2009. During the two-week rotation, civilian vascular surgery volunteers provide clinical and educational expertise to enhance the delivery of sophisticated, state-of-the-art care in support of the military’s few vascular surgeons. The U.S. Army provides travel and housing while the American Red Cross covers malpractice insurance.
Cases range from wound debridements/washouts and vascular evaluation to performing open and endovascular interventions that have proven to be very valuable to the LRMC group and life-saving for the solider.
“It was an honor to be part of the outstanding multi-specialty surgical team at LRMC,” said Dr. Seidel. “The dedication and innovation our military medical colleagues have shown during these two wars is truly remarkable.”
Dr. Church shares in Dr. Seidel’s enthusiasm. “The persistence of the military medical community in continuously refining and improving the care of wounded soldiers will have a lasting impact not just on military medicine, but in the management of future civilian trauma as well,” he says. “This experience is one I will never forget.”
Dr. Seidel and Dr. Church learned of the volunteer opportunity after receiving a request from the Society of Vascular Surgery (SVS), of which they are both members. Knowing the impact they could have on the lives of civilian and military casualty victims, they responded.
SVS members began answering the volunteer requests from the Army to treat injured U.S. soldiers in 2007. By the end of 2009, 52 members will have volunteered for the program, some volunteering for multiple rotations. From its onset, the volunteer program has consistently filled the uncovered slots in the surgery rotation at LRMC.
“Our members understand how important expert surgeons are to the military in saving the lives and limbs of these young heroes,” said K. Wayne Johnston, SVS past president. After their assignments, Dr. Seidel and Dr. Church expressed gratitude not only for the professional experience, but also feel humbled to have witnessed the injuries and the young age of the wounded. They expressed an amazing level of teamwork and saw constant dedication from the surgeons and staff at LRMC for the injured soldiers.