Surgeons take on simulators

A group of fourteen civilian surgeons, from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and their spouses took off their scrubs for a day to visit Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and participate in a subject matter expert exchange with military medical professionals and pilots, March 15.

The surgeons, who are visiting from seven different countries, got the opportunity to exchange best medical practices with their counterparts and also fly in four flight simulators including the F/A-18 Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT), MV-22 Osprey Containerized Flight Training Device (CFTD), CH-53E Helicopter Aircrew Procedures Trainer (APT), and the Marine Common Aircrew Trainer (MCAT) in CH-53E mode.

“During our annual conference, the host country generally provides a unique opportunity very local to their country,” said Dr. David Teuscher, the president of the AAOS and former U.S. Army flight surgeon. “We were kindly extended an offer to be able to come visit [MCAS] Miramar…so we could show these surgeons what we as a military do worldwide.”

This opportunity allowed the surgeons from AAOS to network with military pilots and medical professionals allowing them to experience a different aspect of the surgical field.

“This allows a lot of exposure for civilian orthopaedic surgeons to see what we do in the military,” expressed Lt. Cmdr. Lucas McDonald, orthopaedic sports medicine lead for Naval Medical Center San Diego. “A lot of the specialty training military orthopaedic surgeons get is in civilian hospitals and this allows us to give back to our civilian counterparts as well.”

Over the years, AAOS has assisted in the development of different war injury treatments allowing for strong relationships with military medical personnel.

“We do a lot of training with the militaries from the countries these surgeons represent,” said McDonald. “We have a really great relationship with a lot of the militaries from these countries and tying in the civilian side of everything is very important.”

This event not only gave insight into what aircraft the Marine Corps employs on a daily basis but also gave the surgeons more insight into the AAOS motto: “keeping the world in motion through the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.”

“If it’s zero-dark-thirty and you’re told to go downrange, you get geared up and say ‘yes sir,’” said Tuescher. “For us, it means if the ER calls at two in the morning, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired…you get up, you go to work and you take care of it. That’s very similar to what the military does.”

Story by Sgt. David Bickel