BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson visited the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 8, 2014.
Woodson and his staff which included Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, the Navy Deputy Surgeon General; U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Deputy for Medical Systems to the Assistant Secretary of the Army; Maj. Gen. Mark A. Ediger, the Deputy Surgeon General, Office of the Surgeon General Headquarters; Maj. Gen. Nadja Y. West, Joint Staff Surgeon to the CJCS; Col. Mark Mavity, Command Surgeon at USCENTCOM; Lt. Col. Lee Freeman, Chief of Medical Operations at USCENTCOM and U.S. Navy Capt. Robert S. Fry, Executive Assistant to the Navy Surgeon General.
Woodson is responsible for ensuring the effective execution of the Department of Defense medical mission and oversees the development of medical policies, analyses, and recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, and issues guidance to DoD components on medical matters.
“The reason for us making this visit to AOR is that we really can’t make good decisions unless we hear the ground truth from those that are on the front line with what works and what doesn’t,” said Woodson. “The importance of this trip that I’m making with the Deputy Surgeon Generals and the Joint Staff Surgeon is to talk to the medical forces about their experiences.”
Woodson believes visits like this will help medical procedures in the future.
“It is very important for us to understand from the frontline what has worked and what has not so that we can begin to codify those successes, those innovations, so that we can be better stronger and more relevant in the future,” added Woodson.
During the tour, Woodson and his staff observed a demonstration on the procedures the facility and staff follow when receiving a patient in the trauma center from start to finish.
“We saw an impressive show today of how the system works,” said Woodson. “The NCOs, the enlisted and the officers walked us through what happens when a patient experiences injury and is brought into this amazing trauma center and through all of its functions and battle operations center to make sure they save every life and limb possible and it shows. They boast the highest survival rate in the history of warfare.”
Many of the doctors and medical technicians were glad that Woodson and the deputy surgeon generals were able to visit the hospital.
“It’s always nice to have distinguished visitors come and see what we do, so they have a grasp of what we are doing here,” said Tech. Sgt. Elvin L Blackmon Jr., a medical technician deployed from Joint Base San Antonio and native of Freemont, Calif. “We’re here doing our job and it’s nice to know they appreciate what we do.”
The demonstration gave Woodson a chance to see how skilled the medical professionals are and that they have received great training.
“It’s always important for leaders to see what we do and know that the training we receive is adequate, so it was important that Dr. Woodson and the surgeon generals saw us today,” added Black.
The Craig Joint Theater Hospital is one of the busiest coalition hospitals in Afghanistan. The trauma center admitted 37 patients in April and had a total of 352 emergency patients during that time.
“This is a superb trauma facility; in fact it’s one that civilian agencies could learn from,” said Woodson.
Craig Joint Theater Hospital, 455th AEW, U.S. Army, USAF, medical care, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, U.S. Navy. Bagram, 455th EMG
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