Fleet Surgical Team 2 Performs Surgery at Sea aboard USS Nassau

Story Number: NNS080318-17Release Date: 3/18/2008 2:25:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Charmin Covington, USS Nassau Public Affairs

USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- Fleet Surgical Team 2 has performed several surgical procedures since deploying aboard USS Nassau (LHA 4) to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation Feb. 20.

The highly-skilled 17-person surgical team's motto is "First to Float." Led by Cmdr. Timothy Quiner, Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group Surgeon, the team's mission is to perform surgical procedures, stabilize casualties and prepare them for transport to medical facilities ashore.

When deployed, the team is integrated into the ship's Medical Department, which is led by Capt. Wade Wilde. The department provides the infrastructure, support and environment necessary for the team to perform.

"A big part of the ship's mission is receiving sick and injured Marines," Cmdr. Thomas Goaley, team general surgeon, said. "Having us onboard allows the ship to perform that mission, as well as assist with non-combatant evacuation procedures and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions."

The team faces many challenges operating in a shipboard environment, away from the support available at shore facilities. They must be prepared for anything.

"We must operate in an environment with less light and the rolling of the ship and limited supplies," said Lt. Cmdr. Allen Benfield, the team's nurse anesthetist.

Lt. Cmdr. Johnny Rodgers, the team's operating room nurse, said the team has more than 76 years of combined experience in Navy medicine.

"We are capable of providing the same standard of care received at naval treatment facilities," he said. "Being a Navy nurse enables you to adapt from the sand in the dessert to the rolling deck of the ship, unlike civilian nurses. Members of the team have worked in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Turkey, aboard aircraft carriers and during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, to name a few."

The team performed the first elective surgery of the deployment Feb. 29.

For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.

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