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High-tech surgery in prefabs

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by Cpl. Chief Olivier Bureau

First published in SFOR Informer #50, December 9, 1998

Mostar - At first glance, the advanced surgical centre in the Mostar Ortijes Camp has almost nothing in common with conventional surgical centres. It is assembled from modular technical elements (MTEs). They are the same size as simple containers.

However, these MTEs are mobile and can therefore be deployed anywhere in the world. "We move them on logistic transportation vehicles (LTVs). Each truck carries a modular technical element and a power supply element that provides water, heating and electricity," explained Col. Patrick Godart, Chief of the Medical Corps in the Multinational Division-South-East (MND-SE).

s981211k.jpg (30642 bytes)The medical material is permanently stocked in these MTEs. So, each MTE is fully autonomous. The result is a very high-level hospital. "We have got a blood bank,  high-performance materials, and competent personnel," said Godart. Almost any kind of surgery can be performed in this hospital, with very few exceptions.   "We work under the same conditions as any other operating theatre. But there is one difference - location.

We have to do the same precise work but with less comfort," said Lt. Col. Hugues d'Aigremont, surgeon on the technical team of the surgical-medical company. This company is composed of 60 persons. Twelve work on the technical team which exclusively handles surgical-medical activity. The other 38 belong to the support team. They comprise the rescue station (male) nurses, stretcher-bearers and people from the administrative command.

In a crisis situation, a helicopter crash for example, this structure becomes an essential element. A complete medical team, with anaesthetist personal, nurses, resuscitator, is ready to be sent to the spot to perform  surgical-medical procedures.