Big E's Medical Department Performs Emergency Surgeries

Story Number: NNS070823-04Release Date: 8/23/2007 9:49:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Marcel A. Barbeau, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the "Big E," the Medical Department doesn't just perform physical exams, checkups and annual vaccinations. They are also on board in the event of life-threatening emergencies.

Big E medical found themselves faced with two medical emergencies requiring surgeries Aug. 14.

With one patient suffering a ruptured appendix and another with a hernia, the Sailors in medical worked as a team to provide the best possible care for both patients.

"We have a very good team down here," said Cmdr. Darin Dinelli, senior medical officer. "As soon as the call is made that we need to do surgery on a patient, they have the ability to prepare the OR (operating room) and get everyone in there very quickly."

According to the Ship's Surgeon Cmdr. Tom Davis, what started as minor abdominal pain in the middle of the night, turned out to be a real emergency.

"You couldn't even touch his abdomen without him screaming in pain," said Davis. "When we took the patient to the operating room, we found he had an appendix, which was huge compared to a normal one. Without the surgery, he would have clearly died."

According to Dinelli, the patient's appendix ruptured, and there was a hole in the patient's colon causing him extreme discomfort. After removing the appendix, the patient was in stable condition and flown to a U.S. naval hospital in Kuwait for closer observation.

When the excitement from one medical emergency died down, a phone call came in from USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) about a Sailor with a very different emergency, and the Sailor was flown on board Enterprise.

After investigating, they discovered the patient had a hernia. Following treatment, the patient was upgraded to stable condition and later flown back to Carter Hall.

According to Davis, Medical Department's success is due to the same high professionalism and hard work that named them the best Medical Department in the fleet.

"Enterprise's Medical Department was evaluated during a medical readiness inspection and was judged to be the best Medical Department in the fleet," said Davis. "We're very proud of that. People on this ship can be confident they are going to get good care when they come down here."

Chief Hospital Corpsman Tina Stanco, an independent duty corpsman, said high professionalism is very critical in the medical field.

"It's important we act as professionals because the crew has to be able to trust that when they come into medical they're going to get the best care possible, and that's what they get on board this ship," said Stanco.

Although the feeling of saving a life is humbling for Big E's Medical Department, Dinelli and Davis say it is a team effort, and the credit shouldn't only go to medical.

"We have a terrific Medical Department, but we also have a terrific Air Department, and I'm very impressed with the importance they place on the individual Sailors," said Dinelli. "If there is something that affects a Sailor's health, it becomes their highest priority, and Air Department, Strike Ops, HS-11, CAG OPS, all did a terrific job getting the patients where they needed to go."

"We don't do this by ourselves," added Davis. "We have engineers that supply us electricity and people on the bridge calling us making sure we could make turns while we were doing the operation. It's really a team effort, and the entire ship is involved."

Whether a crew member on board Enterprise comes in for a routine checkup, annual vaccination or for an actual emergency, they can take comfort in knowing every Sailor is given the most professional care.

For more news from USS Enterprise, visit

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transit through the Persian Gulf during flight operations.
070817-N-6524M-005 PERSIAN GULF (Aug. 17, 2007) - The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transit through the Persian Gulf during flight operations. Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are currently underway on a scheduled six-month deployment. U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon Morris
August 17, 2007
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