Keesler medical group provides aid to Chile - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Keesler medical group provides aid to Chile

Posted: Updated:
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Members of the 81st Medical Group at Keesler are back home after a humanitarian mission to earthquake torn Chile.

They spent the past three weeks in Chile as part of an 82 person Air Force medical support team.

Forty-six men and women from Keesler took part in the humanitarian effort. They were part of a team that constructed a fully functional field hospital in just over three days.

The medical mission was in Angol, Chile, about 100 miles from the epicenter of the deadly earthquake.

"How's everybody doing this morning?  Welcome back," said the briefing organizer, as members of the 81st medical group completed the required paperwork following their overseas mission.

The members of the 81st Medical Group just returned home after spending the past three weeks in Chile.

Their mission included constructing a tent-city hospital on a polo field to temporarily replace a Chilean medical center badly damaged in the quake.

"It was awesome. It was great. And we worked very hard," said Joel Shepherd. "The team worked very hard, but it was good work. We enjoyed getting our hands dirty. I enjoy setting up the E-MEDS. Putting those tents together was a lot of fun and putting all the equipment together."

Once constructed, the Air Force team helped provide medical care; everything from ER visits to various surgeries.

"There were at least 15 orthopedic surgeries, about the same number of general surgeries and gynecologic surgeries. And the ENT doc came down and also did some surgery," said Dr. Yekaterina Karpitskaya.

She is an orthopedic surgeon who worked side by side with Chilean doctors.

"It was a great experience. It was very, I'm honored to be able to do this and provide care to people in need and kind of see how they do things over there. And I actually learned things from the ortho surgeon on their side that I got to work with," said the doctor.

Members of the medical team say the graciousness and gratitude of the Chilean people was overwhelming.

"Every morning, the way they greet you is with a two handed hand shake and a kiss on the cheek. Thank you for coming. Even though the language barrier was there, you could still understand what they were trying to say to us. Thank you was around every corner and on every face. and they always talked about things from the heart," said Mary Peterson, who works as a nurse.

She said her first deployment was a memorable one.

"It is something very near and dear to my heart. I have done mission trips in the past. And to be able to do this with the Air Force and be able to represent the United States, it's amazing. Absolutely amazing. Makes me feel very proud," said Peterson.

The temporary hospital will be used for the next two to three years, while the Angol hospital is being rebuilt.

Since the field hospital opened on March 13, Chilean and Air Force medics treated more than 300 patients and performed about 40 surgeries.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 16:27:58 GMT
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
  • Fishermen say impacts still linger from BP oil spill

    Fishermen say impacts still linger from BP oil spill

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:06 GMT
    Against a backdrop of shrimp boats, Vietnamese fishermen held message boards, along with pictures of dead dolphins, turtles and tar balls. Four years later, the impact of the oil spill remains.More >>
    Against a back drop of shrimp boats, Vietnamese fishermen held signs with pictures of dead dolphins and sea turtles this morning. They were at the fishing dock on Biloxi Back Bay to join advocacy groups in a news conference talking about the impacts of the BP oil spill four years later.More >>
  • Affidavit: Diary detailed cop's relationship with teen

    Affidavit: Diary detailed cop's relationship with teen

    Thursday, April 10 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-04-10 10:53:05 GMT
    A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
    WLOX News has uncovered new details about what led investigators to arrest a Long Beach Police officer for three counts of sexual battery involving a minor. A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.