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Home | Tag Archives: William Beaumont Army Medical Center

Tag Archives: William Beaumont Army Medical Center

William Beaumont Army Medical Center honors GME Class of 2020

FORT BLISS, Texas – Soldiers and civilians attended the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program graduation ceremony at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, on June 19.

The ceremony was held on the Northeast Lawn of the hospital campus, a change made to accommodate social distancing and COVID-19 measures.

The most visible change was the lack of families and friends filling the stands ready to cheer on their graduate as his or her name was called. In addition to the location change, participants wore masks for safety to celebrate this momentous occasion while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, WBAMC, understanding the importance of this achievement, provided families and friends the opportunity to watch through a virtual live stream and cheer from home.

Graduates completed program requirements for American Council for Graduate Medical Education accredited residencies in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, or a Transitional Year Internship.

The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Certified Registered Nursing Anesthesia also meet the exacting standards required to be accredited by their professional organizations.

“These trainees have endured a taxing one to six years of training working up to 80 hours a week to achieve their current competency to practice as independent credentialed providers. This journey includes, for some, four years of college, four years of medical school, and then six years of specialty training” said Dr. John Schriver, chief, GME, WBAMC.

“Thank you God, for allowing my life to be a testimony to your uncommon favor! This four year Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Residency has been rigorous, and has pushed me to become very comfortable, with being uncomfortable,” said Maj. Shakasha Scruggs-Williams, who will continue her medical career at WBAMC.

After graduation the residents and interns will serve in various staff assignments, begin fellowship programs, or continue residency programs at WBAMC.

Graduating as a distinguished grad filled her heart with joy, said Scruggs-Williams. Despite COVID-19, she felt the love and support of her family and friends as they reached out over social media to congratulate her on her accomplishments.

“There is no amount of social distancing that can impede love,” she added.

“Some will continue on to further specialty training and many will join the rank and file of Army Physicians, “said Schriver, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, “They have all sacrificed their time, often relying on the support of friends and loved ones, to achieve this goal. We are all tremendously proud of them as they become the future of Army Medicine.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw served as guest speaker. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, he sent the graduates a video message expressing his words of encouragement and gratitude for their dedication and sacrifice.

“Today we graduated the future of Army Medicine. Our programs train the essential and critical skills for the current and future battlefield” said Schriver.

Author: Vincent Byrd  – William Beaumont Army Medical Center

Col. Michael S. Oshiki, commander of William Beaumont Army Medical Center, speaks to Soldiers and civilians graduating from WBAMC’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) Programs during a graduation ceremony held at the North East lawn of the main hospital campus, June 20. Graduates completed courses of study in residencies or internships in one of the following GME programs: Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, General Medical Officer, Oral Surgeon, and Certified Registered Nursing Anesthesia Graduates. U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing | DoD. photo by Vincent Byrd

Fort Bliss Range Control volunteers assist in making life-saving device for WBAMC

FORT BLISS – A device developed by U.S. Army doctors, known as the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber (CAMIC), was promulgated by U.S. Army Medical Command.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center quickly ensured the procurement of these devices to not only treat COVID-19 patients, but also protect healthcare workers from exposure.

The CAMIC is an inexpensive barrier device constructed by draping clear plastic sheeting over a box-like frame made of common PVC piping, then placed over the head of patients to reduce the risk of virus spread as these patients receive treatment. This barrier protects healthcare workers from aerosolized droplets by capturing and removing viral particles emitted from the patient. Holes in the piping device release oxygen flowing through it from one end, which is then sucked out by a vacuum on the other end.

With an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, WBAMC contacted Fort Bliss for support in constructing 40 CAMICs, and a few volunteers from Fort Bliss Range Control stepped forward to do the job. Not only did they volunteer to construct the devices, they also procured all the supplies needed and began working on the construction immediately.

Tim Ahlstrom, Robert Serrano, Kevin Waller, and Raul Martinez, maintenance workers from the Fort Bliss Directorate of Plans Training Mobilization and Security, came in for a few weeks and constructed the CAMICs using instructions for development from MEDCOM.

“When they explained to me what it was going to be used for, I said definitely, we will do it,” said Serrano, maintenance mechanic for DPTMS. “We got to do what we can to help during these times. It is a small part, on our part, but still it’s something that is going to be a big help to the people who get infected.”

Doctors and nurses at WBAMC are thankful the items were constructed in such a quick manner and are at their disposal when treating someone with an infectious disease such as COVID-19.

“The construction of the CAMIC devices by our Team Bliss colleagues is a great example of the phenomenal work by the entire Fort Bliss community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic” said Col. Michael Oshiki, commander of WBAMC. “These devices will provide a superb degree of protection to our staff and our patients, and on behalf of WBAMC, CSM Ray and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to getting these devices made.”

Lt. Col. Eric Weber, chief medical officer of WBAMC, explains that the CAMIC can be the solution to a world-wide problem.

“The problem is we have a disease that is dangerous and can spread easily when aerosolized,” said Weber. “Where you would normally treat a patient with this disease in an isolation or negative pressure room, this helps. There are not enough negative pressure rooms in hospitals, and this can help treat patients in regular rooms.”

In the emergency room, a patient with the novel-coronavirus may need to be intubated, and anyone within six feet of that patient is at high-risk for contracting the disease themselves.

“The CAMIC is the perfect solution. You can put anyone on a BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) or any kind of high flow nasal device and completely wall it off, and prevent them from getting intubated and help them get better, and not spread the disease to everybody else,” said Weber.

All 40 CAMICs have been fielded in different parts of the hospital, to be used on patients when needed.
“The CAMIC is a small piece of what we are doing to treat patients with COVID. We have an amazing staff and we are prepared,” said Weber. “I think patients can feel safe and comfortable coming here. We are ready should a large volume of patients come.”

As a doctor himself, Weber does not hesitate to give the local population his advice.

“As the chief medical officer here, my advice to everybody is to wear a mask. There is a tremendous amount of data that wearing a mask is the absolute best thing we can do,” said Weber. “It’s not wear a mask for yourself, it’s for the people around you. You may do great if you are young, but you may have other people who you may interact with that may not do so well. A mask will help slow the spread until we can get a vaccine.”

Samuel Pearson, logistics manager for the range branch, DPTMS, agrees with Weber. Aside from helping in acquiring the materials for the range control team to make them, he feels people should know that they may end up under the CAMIC themselves.

“I want people to take it serious, you know. Wear the mask, wash your hands. We get emails on people telling us what to do, what not to do, and I just want people to adhere to what our leaders are telling us so we can be safe,” said Pearson.

Author: Amabilia Payen – William Beaumont Army Medical Center

Lt. Col. Paul Sinquefield, chief of anesthesia department, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, volunteers to demonstrate how to effectively use the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber (CAMIC), a device that serves as a barrier protecting healthcare workers from aerosolized droplets by capturing and removing viral particles emitted from a patient, May 22, at WBAMC’s surgical room.
Maj. Braden Hestermann, anesthesiologist, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, volunteers to demonstrate how to effectively use the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber (CAMIC), a device that serves as a barrier protecting healthcare workers from aerosolized droplets by capturing and removing viral particles emitted from a patient, on his colleague, May 22, at WBAMC’s surgical room.

Gallery+Story: WBAMC, City of El Paso work together to stop spread of COVID-19

William Beaumont Army Medical Center is working with the El Paso Health Department in order to test the COVID-19 swabs taken from those suspected of being infected with COVID-19, under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act of 1988 and the Center for Disease Control Laboratory Response Network.

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) is a 1988 United States federal law designed to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the City of El Paso Public Health laboratory to produce the fastest results possible for service members and their families, DoD beneficiaries and the citizens of El Paso Texas,” said Lt. Col. Sonny Huitron, the Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Area Services, WBAMC. “Our goal is to get patients an answer within 24 hours and being able to ‘resource-share’ with the city has made that possible.”

Because of a national-wide shortage of necessary COVID-19 tests, equipment, and personnel, being able to pool resources and utilize other testing facilities is vital in helping to keep the community safe.

“The current collaboration that we have with Fort Bliss is an ongoing testament to our longstanding relationship with the post,” said El Paso City Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino. “This collaboration helps both the civilian and military community to make sure the health of our region is addressed.”

The WBAMC laboratory is set-up for COVID-19 testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows for increased throughput designed to process an increased number of tests with decreased turn around times.

“We keep the WBAMC lab and hospital staff updated on any significant changes that arise with regards to testing and safety. One such issue that is continually addressed is the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE),” said LTC Huitron. “In all healthcare environments, healthcare workers do not know whether an individual has COVID-19, so we use PPE to help prevent the transmission of the virus to hospital staff and patients we are caring for. An absolute priority is the well-being of our service members, healthcare workers and our patients. Minimizing the spread of this virus through PPE, hand hygiene and social distancing, flattens the curve and allows our community to prepare for the road to recovery.”

The basic PPE used during screening of COVID-19 patients may include: gloves, eye protection, a face mask or respirator, and coats or gowns. The PPE used in laboratories is determined by the Biosafety Level put forth by the Centers for Disease Control. WBAMC Bio-Safety Laboratory is a level three.

“I am in direct contact with biohazards every day, and I may wear gloves, but I still wash my hands,” said Emerito Rodriguez, medical technologist and biosafety officer in the WBAMC Bio-Safety Laboratory. “The main thing to help combat this virus is to just wash your hands.”

The CDC and other health officials are reminding people that proper hand-washing is one of the most effective means of keeping the virus at bay.

“In my opinion, the military is the tip of the spear as far as leading the fight against this virus,” said Huitron. “We have resources, expertise, and maintain a good relationship with the local community. Beaumont continually trains for circumstances like this. We’re good at adapting to new situations and working in harsh environments. Working with the El Paso community has only strengthened our abilities, and hopefully, together, we can stop the spread of this virus.”

Author: Spc. Christina Westover  – 24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element  

WBAMC launches new Curbside Pharmacy Service

Fort Bliss has stepped up its preventative measures to keep pharmacy services safe for its Soldiers, families and the El Paso Veteran community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures took effect across William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) pharmacies in an effort to increase the safety and health of both beneficiaries and health care staff.

These changes come as CDC and Army Public Health Nursing guidelines call for the minimizing of foot traffic and the limiting of large gatherings of people in medical center lobbies and waiting rooms.

The new curbside drop-off and pickup pharmacy service is only available at the Mendoza Clinic and William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) main campus between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

TRICARE beneficiaries can drop off their prescriptions and return for them in about four hours to pick up. Any prescriptions dropped off after 1 p.m. will be ready for pick-up the next business day. This applies to any new prescriptions, refills, non-acute medications, and electronic prescription renewals.

Patients are encouraged to phone in their refills by calling (915) 742-1200 and use TRICARE Online as much as possible to manage all of their refill needs such as reviewing their prescription status or submitting refill requests. There is a four-day turnaround time for requesting refills over the phone or online.

For patients that are acutely ill, a specific location for services will be provided to them by their provider. To protect patient health information, WBAMC discourages discussing medical matters or questions on social media and strongly recommends talking to the pharmacy or provider directly.

A U.S. Army Pharmacy Specialist prepares to dispense patient’s prescriptions at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) curbside pharmacy service on Fort Bliss, Texas, April 6, 2020. | U.S. Army photo by: Staff Sgt. Michael L. K. West


The Freedom’s Crossing pharmacy is still open for refill requests submitted by phone or Tricare Online only and will remain open until otherwise announced.

The Soldier Family Medical Center Pharmacy has been closed since March 27 and any prescriptions there have been rerouted as needed. Contact 915-742-6094 for any questions.

“When you come for pick-up at the refill pharmacy, remember to exercise social distancing and to wear the proper masks or cloth face coverings when entering any facility on the installation in accordance with the recent “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive,” said Maj. Eric Mies, deputy surgeon, 1st Armored Division.

“We are extremely proud of our medical professionals across the installation for their hard work and tireless efforts to keep the community safe in the wake of this pandemic. Please make sure you confirm your items are ready for pick-up before coming to either service and be patient with our staff on site.”

Another option beneficiaries may use is the Tricare Express Scripts home delivery service. You can order online, via phone, mobile app, and snail mail.

Author: Jean Han  – 1st Armored Division

Corps completes WBAMC, ushers in new era of health care for Fort Bliss military community

From the extreme desert of the west Texas City of El Paso, about 12 miles from the base of the Franklin Mountains, a new era in medical care for the Fort Bliss Military community will rise.

The picturesque mountains will provide a scenic backdrop for the patients and staff of the new William Beaumont Army Medical Center.

The new facility will be turned over later this month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District, to move into the outfitting phase of the project. This will continue the legacy of care for military personnel and their families and the community that began in 1921.

“This facility highlights the best in USACE engineering and construction,” said Brig. Gen. Paul. E. Owen, commander, Southwestern Division. “Together, with our many partners, we have incorporated the principles of quality engineering, quality construction and quality care to deliver a world-class facility to our Soldiers and their families.”

The new campus consists of a seven-story hospital, five supporting buildings, including an in-patient clinic, out-patient clinic, administrative building, clinical investigation building and a central utility plant. The medical center will also include 135 hospital beds, 10 operating rooms and 30 specialty clinics.

An increase in population resulting from Army Base Realignment and Closure and Army Grow the Force initiatives required a modern medical campus for the provision of inpatient and outpatient care to the Fort Bliss beneficiary population. The 1.1 million square-foot, world-class health-care campus replaces a facility nearing 50 years in age that is much smaller and located on a constrained site away from major troop populations.

To complete a “mega-project” like the replacement hospital, the District’s project delivery team, or PDT, worked together with WBAMC and Health Facility Planning Agency to incorporate state-of-the-art family and patient-centered care features.

According to Construction Manager Brad Hartell, the PDT provided guidance to the team, looking ahead at key features of work and elements, identifying opportunities for mock-ups and early initial inspections to ensure alignment on the quality of the installation.

“Each building had a unique program purpose, resulting in unique spaces, rooms and systems serving those areas. The use of the space required different coordination, equipment and collaboration in order to complete the areas,” said Hartell.

Unlike typical military construction projects, a medical facility of this magnitude comes with added complexities and challenges, Hartell said.

“There is very little repetition in a hospital, in particular in the diagnostic and treatment spaces. In addition to a spectrum of program spaces from chapels and kitchen and dining facilities, to patient rooms and operating rooms, to lab spaces and meditation gardens, the quantity and density of data systems and hospital equipment pose unique challenges,” he said.

Other engineering features of the facility include, a movement-resisting steel frame structure with a side plate connection system and a concrete and metal deck composite floor system in the in-patient and out-patient facilities that will help the buildings withstand the effects of seismic activity.

Also, inclusion of highly absorbent ceiling tiles and flooring surfaces, as well as ceiling-mounted patient lifts, will ease stress and reduce injuries for both patients and medical staff. All patient rooms are private, with space for family members.

“There were also different finishing components on each building, and the way the components interact differently between facilities,” said Hartell. Finishes, both exterior and interior include native stone, as well as colors, patterns and textures that are akin to the culture and geography of the area. Spacious windows will allow an abundance of natural light deep into the buildings. This also allows for nature and garden views along with the nearby Franklin Mountains.

“All the elements come together to meet exterior aesthetics, as well as the quality of the patient and staff experience inside the building,” Hartell said.

Just as majestic as the mountains to the west, new WBAMC will be a modern medical campus showcasing the tenants of quality engineering, quality construction and quality care.

“The Fort Worth District and all project delivery team members throughout USACE are proud to have been a part of delivering the new William Beaumont Army Medical Center to the Fort Bliss community,” said Col. Kenneth Reed, commander, Fort Worth District. “This project will have a significant positive impact on the military community in El Paso and the surrounding area and will help care providers deliver high quality healthcare to support our service members and their families for many years to come.”

Author: Randy Cephus  – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District 

New William Beaumont Army Medical Center to be turned over February 20 for outfitting

The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed construction of the new William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss and will turn over the facility for the next phase of outfitting on February 20.

This will continue the legacy of care for military personnel and their eligible family members and the surrounding community that began in 1921.

Increased population resulting from Army Base Realignment and Closure and Army Grow the Force initiatives required a modern medical campus for the provision of inpatient and outpatient care to the Fort Bliss beneficiary population.

Combining Quality Engineering, Quality Construction and Quality care principles, the facility will set a new bar in patient care and employee satisfaction. The best strategies in hospital construction and patient care such as Evidence-Based Design, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines, and the military’s new gold standard for medical facilities, “World-Class design” were incorporated.

The new 1.1 million square-foot, world-class health-care campus consists of a seven-story hospital, five supporting buildings, including an in-patient clinic, out-patient clinic, administrative building, clinical investigation building and a central utility plant.

The medical center will also include 135 hospital beds, 10 operating rooms, and 30 specialty clinics, thus replacing a facility that is nearing 50 years in age that is much smaller and located on a constrained site away from Fort Bliss major troop populations.

According to Corps officials, the team “endeavored to incorporate state-of-the-art planning and design ideas to promote family and patient-centered care.”

Some of the features include highly absorbent ceiling tiles and flooring surfaces in addition to ceiling-mounted patient lifts to ease stress on the bodies of both patients and medical personnel which will help reduce injuries. All patient rooms are private, with space for family members, further supporting the theory that healing is faster when families can also assist patients.

Finishes, both exterior and interior will include native stone, as well as colors, patterns, and textures that are akin to the culture and geography of the area, and spacious windows allowing abundant light deep into the buildings. This also allows for nature and garden views along with the nearby Franklin Mountains.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proud to have been a part of delivering the New William Beaumont Army Medical Center to the Fort Bliss community. This project will have a significant positive impact on the military community in El Paso and the surrounding area and will help care providers deliver high quality healthcare to support our service members and their families for many years to come.

Author: Edward Rivera  – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Southwestern Division

Video courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Southwestern Division


Fort Worth District’s Brad Hartell, construction manager, for the new William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas has as sit down interview with Brittany Scruggs, public affairs specialist with the Fort Worth District.

Intro Narration: William Beaumont Army Medical Center will be comprised of 10 operating rooms and will have 30 specialty clinics to include women’s health services, behavioral health, physical and occupational therapy, gastroenterology, oncology, hematology, general surgery family medicine vascular surgery, plastic surgery and more. Project will also include a full array of imaging services, inpatient and outpatient pharmacy, laboratory, patient administration, logistics, dining facility, administration and limited retail. Project additionally supports 15 graduate medical education nursing and enlisted training programs.

Brittany Scruggs: Hi; can you tell me your name and what you do?

Brad Hartell: My name is Brad Hartell; I am the construction manager for the Fort Bliss replacement hospital project.

BS: Ok; why did DoD decide to replace the old hospital?

BH: The existing William Beaumont hospital is over 40 years old it’s on a constraint site separate from Fort Bliss proper. So the desire was to get a new medical complex with a capacity-the appropriate capacity for the amount of soldiers on base closer to the soldier family population.

BS: OK; what will set this one apart from other hospitals in the country?

BH: So this is a world-class medical facility complex. It has the capability of serving both inpatient and outpatient; for that reason it’s very efficient for the soldiers and their families. It is just a fabulous fine complex that’s going to be delivered here.

BS: OK; what are some of the biggest challenges you faced along the way with the project and then how if you been able to overcome them?

BH: So a facility like this within the government is considered what we call a megaproject. It is so huge; that’s why it gets that classification. And with that comes complexity because of the size. Additionally because it is a medical facility there is significant complexities with regard to design and construction associated with that. So throughout the life of the project we have had design revisions that the team has determined we needed to incorporate to make sure that we got the facility right. The project delivery team was very committed, has been very committed, to work together to overcome those challenges.

BS: OK; do you have any final remarks that you want to let our audience know about the Fort Bliss replacement project?

BH: So, again, there’s been just a tremendous amount of effort put into this project. We’ve had a great team of professionals working on it, and tradesmen working on it. The motto of our team has always been one team-one mission building a world class medical hospital complex for our soldiers and families. We’ve just always maintained that focus-delivering a high-quality product for our families and soldiers. I’m proud to be part of this project.

BS: Awesome! Well thank you so much, Brad, for taking time to discuss the William Beaumont Fort Bliss replacement hospital project and I know the community is looking forward to seeing the final product.

TTUHSC El Paso to host inaugural Conference on Simulation-Based Medical Education

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, in collaboration with University Medical Center of El Paso, New Mexico State University, the University of Texas at El Paso and William Beaumont Army Medical Center, will present the inaugural Simulation Educator and Operations Conference for the Southwest Region.

The one-day event will feature 30 regional and national leaders in simulation-based medical teaching. Simulation-based medical education tools include high-technology, lifelike patient manikins that allow students to practice clinical procedures without the risk of harm.

Additionally, simulation education prepares students, residents, physicians and first responders to provide high-quality care during critical, mass-casualty incidents.

Officials share that both TTUHSC El Paso students and residents, as well as Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, were prepared for an influx of gunshot-wound victims during the Aug. 3 mass shooting at a Cielo Vista-area Walmart thanks to the training they received at the TTUHSC El Paso Training and Educational Center for Healthcare Simulation (TECHS).

With more than 20 educational sessions, the conference will focus on simulation technology and operations, delivery of simulated education, techniques in evaluation and assessment, and best practices in administration and research.

There will be a panel discussion with administrators from UMC, El Paso Children’s Hospital and WBAMC to review how simulation educators can help meet the needs of local health care organizations and prepare medical students to deliver high-quality and safe patient care.

The conference is designed for health care educators in the medical, nursing, and allied health professions, as well as anyone working with simulation technology, operations or administration.

Simulation equipment manufacturers will be present to demonstrate some of the newest innovations in health care simulation technologies.

What:   Inaugural Simulation Educator and Operations Conference

When:  Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

Where: TTUHSC El Paso Medical Education Building, Auditorium 1200, 5001 El Paso Drive

WBAMC honored nationally for meritorious outcomes from American College of Surgeons

William Beaumont Army Medical Center was recently recognized by The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) as one of seven military treatment facilities in the Department of Defense and 88 participating hospitals across that nation, that have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2018.

As a participant in ACS NSQIP, WBAMC is required to track the outcomes of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and collect data that assesses patient safety and can be used to direct improvement in the quality of surgical care.

The ACS NSQIP recognition program commends a select group of hospitals for achieving a meritorious composite score in either an “All Cases” category or a category which includes only “High Risk” cases.

Risk-adjusted data from the July 2019 ACS NSQIP Semiannual Report, which presents data from the 2018 calendar year, were used to determine which hospitals demonstrated meritorious outcomes. WBAMC has been recognized on the “All Cases” Meritorious list.

“In an era that places military doctors for long periods in harm’s way, it is great to know that we accomplish both our deployed mission and our domestic mission with excellence, providing the very best care for our military families,” said Lt. Col. Eric Ahnfeldt, General Surgery Residency Program director and chief of Bariatric Surgery. “This recognition validates the quality care that WBAMC provides, which is above and beyond many other medical centers.”

Each composite score was determined through a different weighted formula combining eight outcomes.

The outcome performances related to patient management were in the following eight clinical areas: mortality, unplanned intubation, ventilator > 48 hours, renal failure, cardiac incidents (cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction); respiratory (pneumonia); SSI (surgical site infections-superficial and deep incisional and organ-space SSIs); or urinary tract infection. WBAMC achieved the distinction “All Cases” list based on their outstanding composite quality score across these eight areas.

“It is the aggregate outcomes regarding these complications and shows that all our services exceeded national averages in quality and safety,” said Maj. C. Rees Porta, Chief of general surgery and the NSQIP Surgeon Champion. “There is no better metric to get a 30,000 foot view of an institutions commitment to quality surgical care than this.”
WBAMC services such as orthopedics, neurosurgery, vascular, cardiothoracic, plastic surgery, general surgery, bariatric surgery, colo-rectal, gynecology, and ENT are all a part of the ACS NSQIP recognition and evaluation process.

“I am very proud of our staff for achieving this significant distinction,” said Col. Michael S. Oshiki, commander of WBAMC. “This achievement illustrates our support of the Defense Health Agency’s commitment to better care, which is one of the four tenets of the DHA Quadruple Aim.”

ACS NSQIP is the only nationally validated quality improvement program that measures and enhances the care of surgical patients. This program measures the actual surgical results 30 days postoperatively as well as risk adjusts patient characteristics to compensate for differences among patient populations and acuity levels.

The goal of ACS NSQIP is to reduce surgical morbidity (infection or illness related to a surgical procedure) and surgical mortality (death related to a surgical procedure) and to provide a firm foundation for surgeons to apply what is known as the “best scientific evidence” to the practice of surgery.

Furthermore, when adverse effects from surgical procedures are reduced and/or eliminated, a reduction in health care costs follows. ACS NSQIP is a major program of the American College of Surgeons and is currently used in nearly 850 adult and pediatric hospitals.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient.

The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 82,000 members and it is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

Maj. Daniel Nelson, surgical oncologist, instructs medical residents during a bilateral mastectomy at WBAMC, April 22, 2019.

Story+Photo courtesy William Beaumont Army Medical Center/Facebook

WBAMC’s Women’s Equality Day celebrates diversity and inclusion

Each year on August 26, military personnel gather to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women full voting rights.

In celebrating Women’s Equality day, William Beaumont Army Medical Center recognizes not only the significance of women’s contributions to the medical profession, but also the value of a diverse and inclusive environment.

The WBAMC family celebrated the historic day in the Clinic Assembly Room on August 15, 2019. The guest speaker for the occasion was Army Sgt. Maj. Tammy Bosier, senior enlisted advisor to the deputy commander of WBAMC.

“The right to vote is kind of like water, you don’t miss it until you’re thirsty,” said Bosier, who is currently attending the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy virtually while continuing full-time in her position at WBAMC. “When you’re not counted as an equal, it seers your soul and if you haven’t experienced it, you can’t imagine it.”

While the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920 giving women the right to vote nationally, states often had other laws, Bosier added.

“Women had the right to vote, they didn’t; however, have the right in every state to enter the voting booth without their husband, meaning that men could go into the voting booth and tell the women how to vote. They didn’t have the right to own property, solely in their name, if they inherited property, it had to go in their husbands names,” said Bosier, who joined the military in 1986. “If women married a foreign national they would have to give up their citizenship, while men did not. Women weren’t allowed to seek contraception without the permission of their husbands.”

Throughout history women have fought for equality on many fronts – even the military, Bosier told the audience. Women have served in every conflict, usually returning to civilian life once the conflict ended. All that changed when the more than 400,000 women serving during World War II – some became prisoners of war, many received medals and citations for their contributions – fought for their right to serve, return to their prewar jobs, and receive veterans’ benefits.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center staff recognize not only the significance of women’s contributions to the medical profession, but also the value of a diverse and inclusive environment during a Women’s Equality Day Observance, August 15, 2019, in the clinical assembly room of the main hospital. | Photo by Capt. Olivia Cobiskey

Some of the key points in history: In 1976 women were allowed to attend the U.S. military academy at West Point, in 1978 women in the U.S. Navy and Marines were allowed to serve on non-combat ships as technicians, nurses, and officers, in 1993 Congress authorizes women to serve on combat ships, in 2000 U.S. Navy Capt. Kathleen McGrath becomes the first women to command a U.S. Navy warship, in 2005 Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester becomes the first woman awarded the Silver Star for combat action, in 2013 women were granted the right to serve in direct ground combat roles, and in 2019, a U.S. District judge ruled that requiring all men to register for a military draft, while excluding women, was unconstitutional.

“We live in exciting times, the only person that can limit you is yourself. We can make excuses or we can make things happen,” said Bosier, who deployed to Iraq in 2003. “We’re allowed opportunities that our grandmothers only dreamed of.”

Col. Michael S. Oshiki, commander of WBAMC, agreed these are exciting times.

“Our connection in Army medicine to women in uniform is quite significant, there are 200,000 women servicing in uniform.

The number one field: Medicine – 40,000 women in the healthcare field across the services,” Oshiki said. “And it’s not just in uniform,

there is another 200,000 women who serve as GS civilians. Medicine is the second highest field, with 86,000.”

Military medicine has a long history of women who have become icons, Oshiki continued. He named two in particular from the American Civil War, Dr. Mary Walker was the first female surgeon employed by the U.S. Army and only women to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor for bravery. The Dr. Mary E. Walker Award is named after her. The other was Clara Barton, known as the ‘Angel of the Battlefield. She risked her life to bring supplies and support to Soldiers on the field during the war and was the progenitor of the American Red Cross, created in 1881. She served as its president until 1904.

At the end, both Oshiki and Bosier asked participants to reflect on what they can do to create a more equitable environment.

“I want you to do one kind thing today,” Bosier asked.

Col. Michael S. Oshiki, commander of William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Command Sgt. Maj. Janell Ray (right), and Sgt. Maj. Tammy Bosier (middle), senior enlisted advisor to the deputy commander of WBAMC, take a slice out of inequality during the WBAMC Women’s Equality Day Observance, August 15, 2019, in the dining facility of the main hospital. | Photo by Capt. Olivia Cobiskey
William Beaumont Army Medical Center

Author:  Capt. Olivia Cobiskey – William Beaumont Army Medical Center

WBAMC welcomes additions to newborn nursery team

At U.S. military installations across the globe, the moving season has arrived where military families arrive at a new duty station for their next assignment.

The WBAMC active duty medical personnel who provide care to Fort Bliss and El Paso, Texas beneficiaries are no different.

The permanent change of station (PCS) season affects military treatment facilities every year and access to care decreases a little bit as leaders and staff wait for replacements to arrive or new hires to be orientated.

WBAMC’s Women’s Health and Pediatric services have come up with an approach to provide the same access to high-quality care in the labor and delivery department, one of the most active departments for the hospital.

Dr. Stacey Frazier, chief of inpatient pediatrics, has reinforced her service with family practice physicians to improve coverage of the newborn nursery and neonatal service.

Over time, newborn data in the department has shown that the summer season is the busiest time of the year for births at WBAMC. Adding the family physicians to the neonatal care team will ensure the continuation of care for parents and their newborn(s).

“It’s a traditional family medicine practice that is done in smaller communities,” said Frazier. “Our family practice physicians are fully qualified and have gone through neonatal resuscitation certification.”

As of right now, WBAMC has three pediatricians who will be working with five family medicine doctors that will cover night shifts. This new model began early in the month of June, 2019 and Frazier hopes that by the fall, when PCS season slows down, there will be even more pediatricians and family physicians available to cover every shift.

“It’s a win-win because not only are we continuing care, the family physician doctors are refreshing their family practice skills by applying them in the inpatient setting,” said Frazier. “They will be able to continue these skills which are critical for them throughout their Army career.”

Ultimately, patients should not notice a difference in the level of care. WBAMC will continue to provide patient-friendly access to high-quality care.

Author:  Amabilia Payen  – William Beaumont Army Medical Center

Fort Bliss couple’s loss turns to legacy at WBAMC

On Sept. 22, 2018, Ryder Lucas Barnett was delivered at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. His passing was part of the one in four pregnancies that end in loss in the United States.

It’s estimated that 19 percent of the adult population has experienced the death of a child (this includes miscarriages through adult-aged children). After the loss of Ryder, Kelsey and Capt. Hunter Barnett knew they had to do something to memorialize their son.

“Ever since I lost him I’ve told myself, through my faith, family, friends, and everyone here at WBAMC who helped me, I’m going to use my pain to help others,” said Kelsey, a National Guard veteran. “It definitely helps to use my pain to help someone else.”

Since September, the Barnetts have fundraised and donated multiple casting kits for use with fetal demises. Still the couple wanted to do more for the staff who helped them get through their difficult loss, so they partnered with a nonprofit organization to donate a cooling device, which dons a placard memorializing Ryder, designed to prolong parents’ time with babies who suffer fetal demise.

Because of their size, decomposition begins quickly in infants, reducing the time available for parents to spend with them. The Barnetts’ gift to WBAMC cools and preserves the body longer, allowing parents to spend more time with them.

1st Lt. Hunter Barnett, an operations officer with the 72nd Military Police Detachment, 93rd Military Police Battalion, Fort Bliss, Texas, and wife Kelsey Barnett, present a plaque and cooling device. | Photo by Marcy Sanchez
William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

“If that piece of equipment gets used it means someone has lost a child,” said Hunter, an operations officer with the 72nd Military Police Detachment, 93rd Military Police Battalion, at Fort Bliss, Texas. “One of the first things me and my wife talked about when (Ryder passed) was, it doesn’t matter if it happens at 20, 14, or 35 weeks; it’s still your daughter or son. They had a name, they had a life you expected them to have, then all that’s gone in an instant. I hope this equipment never gets used.”

Fourteen weeks into her pregnancy, Kelsey’s doctor found it difficult to hear a heartbeat when performing an ultrasound. Further examination revealed her baby had passed.

“I knew something was wrong because it was just really still. The worst words I have ever heard were, ‘there’s no heart beat’,” said the 24-year-old mother of three. “You feel like you’re stuck in place in the world, there’s no words to describe how it feels to hear that you’re baby has no heartbeat.”

Hours later, Ryder was delivered after 14 weeks, 2 days of pregnancy.

“When I got here, on the day I had Ryder, the staff took me to a back room,” said Kelsey. “For someone going through that, you don’t want to hear baby’s crying and the staff respected that they honored my wishes about that. From the time I got here until I had Ryder and we left, I always had someone checking on me, staying with me, praying with me. I’m very thankful I had the nurses here at WBAMC to help me.”

While there is no prescribed method of grieving after a loss, according to studies by the device manufacturer, families can handle infant loss better if they are able to spend more time with their baby.

“(The device) could have at least added a few more hours with him,” said Kelsey.

“Fort Bliss has been home for three and a half years, we had two children born in this hospital. So it really means a lot to be able to give back to our community, to the hospital where our children were born,” said Hunter, 25, native of Prosperity, South Carolina. “One of the things they focus on in the military is servant leadership, (the donation) is Kelsey and my way of doing that. I’m proud of her for coming up with this. She channeled everything she’s feeling into something good, that’s how I think everyone should handle bad experiences.”

William Beaumont Army Medical Center is the first Military Treatment Facility in the Department of Defense to receive the device, according to the device manufacturer.

The device was donated on April 30, 2019.

Author: Marcy Sanchez  William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

Eight Army nurses impact hospital’s history, future

Almost twenty years ago, several Army nurses at William Beaumont Army Medical Center worked together on the surgical and medical wards, depending on each other to meet their missions.

Today, eight nurses who once donned gold bars now wear silver oak leafs on their chest and still depend on one another for mission success.

Lt. Cols. Marta Artiga, Lambert Cabales, Rich Clark, Sarah Huml, Greg Lara, Dahlia Pacheco, Jerry Rivera Santiago, and Perry Ruiz, all worked at WBAMC in the late 90s, early 2000s, on the Surgical, Medical Wards and Operating Rooms. Twenty years later this collection of Army Nurses reflect on their careers, missions and the impact they had, and continue to have at WBAMC.

“They call us the mafia, in a good way,” said Clark, chief of Information Management Division and chief information officer/ chief medical information officer at WBAMC. “Not only do we have a relationship between all of us, but we have a relationship to the organization.”
The O-5 Mafia, a reference to their rank and pay grade, call WBAMC home, where they learned nursing skills, selfless service, and the value of friendship.

Strong bonds developed with peers prepared us for our Army careers, said Cabales, chief of Perioperative Nursing Services at WBAMC.
That preparation is evident as the Soldiers advanced their careers in the medical field, while continuing education beyond their nursing degree.

Artiga, clinical nurse officer in charge of Same Day Surgery Services at WBAMC, first began her journey in the Army National Guard before commissioning and her first assignment as a nurse at WBAMC’s ninth floor, or Medical Ward, in 1999.

“I think the beginning was very interesting because I wanted to be stationed in Texas so I asked the recruiter for Texas, they placed me at WBAMC,” said Artiga, a native of El Salvador. “We all had a very tense time in the beginning, to a point where (the workload) built us up and peers listened to each other and took care of each other.”

Following her tour at WBAMC, Artiga, who had previously deployed to Saudi Arabia, spent time around the world, eventually deploying in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. But it was a training deployment that cemented Artiga’s appreciation for the Army and other Soldiers.

“My mother passed away while I was on deployment (to Iraq), so I didn’t want to go back to El Salvador,” said Artiga. “I got back with a sense of guilt of not being bedside with my mother.”

Years after returning, Artiga took the opportunity to deploy on a training mission to Honduras, a neighboring country of El Salvador. Her mission was to prepare Honduran Armed Forces for deployment.

“It was very rewarding because I needed to close the loop in the country where I was born. The most important thing that I realized was I was going with my family (other Soldiers),” said Artiga. “I think (my mother) would be proud and happy because we went to train Soldiers who were going to deploy to Iraq. It was very rewarding and about closing the loop with my family. After that I felt that the U.S. was the country I would definitely defend and protect.”

Camaraderie, is how most of the group describes their relationships with all having their unique experiences lead them to their current roles as leaders.

“For me, it’s the memories of coming back, full circle and being with the same folks we were once with,” said Cabales, a native of Oklahoma City. “I’ll never exchange the experiences we’ve had here and that we continue to have because they are my extended family. There’s some things that you can’t just replace and those are the memories that we shared of knowing that we won’t ask junior (Soldiers) things that we haven’t done ourselves.”

Cabales, who was at WBAMC’s Medical Ward in 2001, believes his first taste of health care at WBAMC well-prepared him for future assignments, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was a struggle, but every assignment that I’ve been through (since leaving WBAMC) have not been as hard as what we’ve (the group) been through,” said Cabales. “For me, knowing their work ethic, their personalities, when the command tells us to do something, I know it will get done. Just knowing we still have each other’s back, that’s why I stay in the military.”

Rivera Santiago, a native of Coamo, Puerto Rico, serves as WBAMC’s clinical nursing officer in charge of the Operating Room. First starting his Army career as an enlisted Soldier, Rivera Santiago jumped at the opportunity to take part in an enlisted to commissioned program.

“The reason I joined was to learn English, to travel and to get an education,” said Rivera Santiago, who has twice deployed to Iraq. “(Being assigned to the Medical Ward) was one of the best things that have happened to me, because it prepared me in the basics of nursing.
“I grew up having everything through the Army, before that I came from a poor environment and now I’m at a place where I don’t have to worry about those kind of things,” said Rivera Santiago. “Not that they just gave it to me, you really have to work for it, but it’s there. I like the options I’ve had through the Army.”

Getting the opportunity to meet his peers at WBAMC and see them once again after so many years, is one of Rivera Santiago’s greatest takeaways.

Not all the Soldiers started their nursing careers at WBAMC. Pacheco, a native of Pittsburg, California, was first introduced to Army Medicine at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Hawaii, where she served as a medical-surgical nurse. Following her tour in Hawaii, Pacheco added emergency room nursing to her skill set before landing at WBAMC.

“My family came to the U.S. when I was 12. We were immigrants, we didn’t have any money for college,” said Pacheco, a clinical nurse specialist at WBAMC’s Perioperative Nursing Services. “I would have been stuck in California in a community college, so (the Army) was definitely a good opportunity.”

Pacheco, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, spent time as an Operating Room nurse at WBAMC after a brief stint out of the Army. Additionally, Pacheco’s relationships with some of the lieutenant colonels at WBAMC precede their time in uniform.

“We were both Army ROTC cadets from the University of San Francisco,” said Huml, deputy commander for Quality and Safety at WBAMC, discussing her relationship with Pacheco. “(WBAMC) has a special place in my heart. I was married here, and started my family here.”

Huml, who deployed to Iraq with Cabales and Pacheco as part of the 31st Combat Support Hospital, says her interest in nursing started as a teenager.

“I had the opportunity to volunteer in rural Mexico as a teenager, and decided that nursing was my calling,” said Huml. “When I was a nursing student I saw the ROTC cadets rappelling off the side of the nursing building and was recruited into the Army ROTC program.
“Nursing was my calling, and after my combat experience with the 31st CSH, Army Nursing was my calling,” said Huml.

“The relationships I have made, that started here at WBAMC, were also the reason I have stayed in as an Army Nurse. I know that I will be retiring this summer, but will have this connection to my Army family forever. Throughout my career I have made meaningful relationships which inspired me to serve.”

A deeper understanding of medicine led Lt. Col. Perry Ruiz, chief of Nursing Operations at WBAMC, to a career in nursing.

“Whenever I used to take my wife and our baby to the doctor I never really understood what was happening. But I did realize that if I knew what nurses know then I could take better care of my own family,” said Ruiz, a native of El Paso, Texas.

Ruiz, who is on his third assignment at WBAMC, also got his start on the Medical Ward in 1998. After two deployments to Afghanistan, Ruiz shares one of his fondest memories from his deployment, which still resonates with him.

“What started out as a calm night with (a 10-year-old Afghan boy) talking quietly with his grandpa ended up being loud and chaotic with all the bright lights turned on. (The boy) went into cardiac arrest, we did everything we could to save him but nothing worked,” said Ruiz, discussing some of the grim realities of the field. “We all learn what to do. We all become technically proficient. But what your patients need is not someone who is merely technically proficient, you need to sincerely care.”

Ruiz who shares memories with Rivera Santiago, Clark, Lara, and Artiga states he never expected to reunite with his fellow nurses at this point in his career.

“We were all nurses. We were all (lieutenants). This was our first tour as officers. We did bond but never expected a reunion like this,” said Ruiz.

When Ruiz joined the team of nurses on WBAMC’s Medical Ward, he didn’t join a group of strangers as some Soldiers do during their first assignment, a familiar face was there with him. Lt. Col. Greg Lara, chief of Hospital Education and Training, met Ruiz during Officer Basic Training, after serving seven years as a combat medic.

Lara, a native of Berthoud, Colorado, also too advantage of the Army’s enlisted to commissioning program and started as a staff nurse in 1998.

“I like making a difference in patients’ lives and fellow service members’ lives,” said Lara. “I still enjoy (nursing), which is why I continue to serve. The people you meet, the opportunities are abundant. I really enjoy educating, mentoring, guiding Soldiers, whether they are NCOs, officers or junior enlisted.”

Taking a different approach to the nursing field, Clark, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, also began on the Medical Ward, but an interest in the technical aspects of nursing led the former air defender to nursing informatics.

“I did everything that I wanted to do as a kid (in Air Defense Artillery), my mom is a nurse, and stepfather is a physician, so I told myself that’s the best way to go,” said Clark. “Even though I work in (information technology), (being a nurse) helps bridge the gap between the physicians and IT. We look at IT from a clinical perspective now, to support the clinicians.”

While plans for some of these senior nurses are to retire soon, others wish to continue serving the organization which has sown their careers and sewed their relationships which have lasted over two decades.

“I love coming to work every day, no day is ever the same. For us it feels like yesterday that we were in the Operating Room and (Medical Ward),” said Clark. “It’s not just the camaraderie, but it’s the mission too. We’re taking care of America’s sons and daughters. It’s not about the money, it’s about the role and the impact that you can make.”

Author: Marcy Sanchez  – William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office 

WBAMC Credentials chief acquires elite credential

Education doesn’t end with a medical degree for more than 1,700 medical providers at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, it’s a continuous practice which adds to patient care, safety and the evolution of scope of practice.

Patients can rest assure their provider is credentialed and privileged to provide the care they do because of WBAMC’s Credentialing staff.

Leading the charge is the department’s chief, Michelle Vera, who recently completed a Leadership Certificate Program from her profession’s national organization, the first medical services professional in El Paso to do so.

Medical credentialing allows patients to be confident placing their care and trust in the hands of their health care providers. The practice goes beyond verifying the academic degrees plastered on provider’s walls are authentic by tracking provider’s training, experience, and Continuing Medical Education (CME) maintaining their clinical proficiency.

Vera, a native of El Paso, Texas, has worked in the field for more than two decades watching the profession evolve along with medical care.

“Back when I started in 1996, you couldn’t fake a diploma or certification, today things are easier to manipulate,” said Vera.

Vera’s recent certificate prepares her to lead her department in effective negotiations, corporate responsibility and compliance and financial matters.

“With this certification, it really has to do with leadership and medical staff services and budget negotiations, ethics, changes in healthcare and communications with professionals,” said Vera. “With changes in technology and the profession, (medical services professions) started adding more training and requirements to move toward (better identification of) quality and competent providers.”

According to Vera, credentialing differs from privileging as credentialing is the process of verifying qualifications, leading to providers’ privileges, limiting them in their scope of practice.

“In credentialing, we verify the credentials of providers which are (not limited to) licenses and work history for the past 10 years,” said Vera. “Privileging, is when we match up their training and experience to what their scope of practice will be here. Providers apply for privileges every two years, so we can verify what they’ve been doing (in clinical practice).”

Through these processes, Vera and her staff provide patients with the security of knowing their providers have been verified to be clinically capable of providing them safe patient care.

“We manage doctors, social workers, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, and anyone who has a license (including Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical/ Vocational Nurses and others),” said Vera. “We ensure they are trained to do a certain procedure or therapy while following Joint Commission recommendations, Army Regulations and state laws.”

In recent years many medical breakthroughs have been undertaken by WBAMC staff. Vera’s team manages the requirements necessary for new procedures to be performed at WBAMC, to include establishing credentialing criteria, and prerequisites for performing the procedure.

For Vera, who also holds two other elite certifications in her field, her recent certificate is another notch on her belt reminding her of the trust patients put in their providers and the important functions of the credentialing staff.

“These certificates are evolving as the profession evolves,” said Vera.

Author:  Marcy Sanchez  – William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

WBAMC Labor and Delivery’s Quick Reaction Saves Newborn’s Life

For most women, pregnancy is an incredible 40-week journey ending with the delivery of baby. But it’s not always that easy or predictable with possible complications threatening the health of mother, baby or both.

Recently, medical professionals at William Beaumont Army Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery section skillfully dealt with a rare complication when a laboring mom experienced an umbilical cord prolapse, leading staff to quickly respond to the obstetrical emergency via an emergency cesarean section.

A cord prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord prolapses, or drops, through the open cervix into the vagina ahead of the baby which may block fetal-placental circulation resulting in loss of oxygen to the fetus and possible stillbirth if not treated immediately.

“(The patient) was already here and admitted because we were inducing labor,” said Diana Ortiz, charge nurse during the shift of the incident. “The doctor went in there to (rupture) the membrane and the cord came out, he was trying to make her go into labor.”

Although the artificial rupture of membranes is a common procedure performed to accelerate or induce labor, there are always risks involved. According to studies by the Cleveland Clinic, about one in every 500 pregnancies may result in an umbilical cord prolapse, increasing the importance of staff readiness.

“Rupturing of the amniotic sack is just part of the process to help a mom who’s not going into labor any other way, and there are risks associated with that,” said Maj. Michael Swift, the obstetrician-gynecologist performing the procedure.

Obstetrical emergencies, such as cord prolapse, are routinely simulated at WBAMC’s L&D section through the use of medical manikins to evaluate staff communication during emergencies, and improve interdisciplinary and clinical performance.

“We do practice simulations but this was beyond simulations, it was just a really, really, solid team,” said Swift. “It was fast, it was extremely fast. Everyone was well organized it was like an absolute perfect orchestra.”

According to the staff, as Swift called for assistance after the prolapse, a team of nurses quickly prepared the operating room for the emergency cesarean section, while another nurse jumped on the gurney with the patient to assist with alleviating pressure on the umbilical cord due to the baby dropping.

“The teamwork was dynamic, and worked out so well,” said Ortiz, a seven-year L&D nursing veteran. “Everybody ran and did something, it synchronized really well, and right at change of shift.”

According to Ortiz, shift changes are usually a more chaotic time during care as outgoing staff are occupied with the transfer of patient information to incoming staff and other activities.

“I’m still catching my breath because everything just fell into place from (umbilical cord prolapse) to (emergency cesarean section),” said Ortiz.

For Swift, who is only two years out of his medical residency, the only other real-world experience with an umbilical cord prolapse was during his residency. He credits the team of nurses for their quick reaction, turning a potentially fatal situation to an otherwise successful delivery.

“These nurses are extremely experienced and have been doing this for years, but it does demonstrate the importance of simulations, because these are practiced routinely,” said swift.

As a result of their actions, staff members were presented commander’s coins following the incident. Staff members include: Santa Ware, Maria Martell, Lisa Obermeyer, Yesenia Ruelas and Jennifer Ruelas.

Within six minutes, the team’s actions went from the umbilical cord prolapse to delivery of the baby with no further complications. Two weeks following discharge, during a follow up appointment the family were content and thankful for the rapid response and teamwork at WBAMC.

“There’s always great crew work, if something happens everybody knows what to do,” said Ortiz.

Author: Marcy Sanchez  – William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

Bound by Blood, Serving by Choice; Brothers Meet Once Again at Fort Bliss

Eight years since last seeing each other, two brothers from Central Valley, California, cross paths at a remote West Texas location, nestled between mountain ranges and riddled with desert shrub.

The setting is all too familiar for the pair, which have spent more years apart than together, yet they gather whenever given chance.

James and David Mendoza, fraternal twins born five minutes apart, enlisted after high school to find their calling after gradually realizing their own individual identities, as evidenced by their high school athletics clubs, James participated in water sports while David stuck to running.

A desire for something greater drove the brothers toward service after high school, with David enlisting in the Army Reserves while James enlisted in the Army’s active-duty component. Today, Maj. James Mendoza leads manpower and administrative functions for the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a California Army National Guard unit out of San Diego, California, while Col. David Mendoza heads inpatient services at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, out of El Paso, Texas.

“Last time we crossed paths like this was in May of 2010,” said David, deputy commander of inpatient services at WBAMC. “I was stationed at Fort Hood, (James) was mobilizing for a deployment with the National Guard and we happened to be with each other for a few days before he left.”

Although the brothers occasionally see each other at family functions, such as holidays with their parents back in California, service to country has absorbed the brothers’ time.

“We’re basically two separate worlds now, other than being part of the Army,” said David.

For James, Army service started as an aviation maintenance technician in the 80s.

“As I was progressing through the enlisted ranks I finished up my (college) education,” said James, the older of the brothers. “When I got that completed, a door opened to get commissioned, so off I went in the National Guard and started as a finance, logistics and human resources officer.”

Although James transitioned from active duty to the National Guard, he’s remained Active Guard Reserve, or on full-time National Guard duty, since donning the uniform.

David’s initial Military Occupational Specialty as a combat medic in the Army Reserves inspired him toward earning a nursing degree and commission afterwards.

“I don’t know a whole lot about the medical world and he doesn’t know much about logistics,” said James.

“There’s really not a whole lot that separates us, or that we have in common,” adds David.

While their desire to become their own person drove the brothers toward service, emulating others who served before them was also a factor in serving their country.

“Our dad was a retired Soldier in the National Guard, and we have uncles who served in Vietnam, so we have a family tradition of serving,” said David. “Our family background of service and looking for a way to pay for college, possibly get into a career we could use later on in life were motivators to enlist.”

Their careers have led them through more than a half-dozen deployments, and multiple duty stations for David, but the brothers are still finding time to discuss current and future endeavors with one another.

“Life happens. I move around, he stays (in California), and we don’t ever get the opportunity to cross paths,” said David. “It’s nice to have this window of opportunity to hang out and reconnect, if only for a few days.”

While not having too much in common, both brothers do agree one of the largest challenges they’ve had to overcome during decades of service are families dealing with deployments.

“We share the same sentiments of any military family of having to be gone, (deployments are) a challenge for the spouses,” said David.

“It’s just part of what we do, but it’s time away from family,” said James.

While discussions about life after their service haven’t began, the two are glad to discuss the journey they have been through leading to a rare get together for the brothers.

“It’s great to be at the end of our careers,” said David. “It’s great to have this time to capstone the last 25-30 years to look back and at the same time look forward.”

Author: Marcy Sanchez –  William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

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