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 Cleveland, OH, Vascular Surgeon Provides "Hands-on" Support for the Troops

March 4, 2011   Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson   312-334-2311

CHICAGO – For two weeks, vascular surgeon, John Blebea of Cleveland, OH, volunteered to treat wounded American soldiers transported from Afghanistan and Iraq to the United States Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany.

“I wanted to support our troops, particularly soldiers wounded while in service to our country,” said Dr. Blebea, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS). “These heroic young men and women volunteer. They put their lives at risk. We need to do everything we can to take care of them when they are wounded.”

From January 6-21, 2011, Dr. Blebea volunteered at LRMC - the largest American hospital outside the United States. “It was humbling to see the courage of our soldiers and their faith in the ideals of our country,” he said.
“It was very satisfying to see that they are getting absolutely the best medical care. Nothing is spared in their treatment. The doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel are highly skilled and dedicated to taking care of not only American soldiers but also those of associated NATO countries and contract civilians.”
Since 2004, 66,000 military personnel have been treated at LRMC. Since Sept. 2007, 72 Society members have volunteered to supplement the limited number of vascular surgeons at the medical center.
“Speaking on behalf of SVS leadership and all of its members, we are extremely proud of the vascular surgeons who donate their time to help treat war injuries,” said 2010-2011 SVS President Dr. Robert Zwolak of New Hampshire.
“Vascular surgeons repair damaged arteries and veins through traditional open surgical techniques. Our member volunteers are determining the value of endovascular methods in these most challenging and difficult cases."
The inclusion of civilian SVS members at LRMC began at the request of SVS member and retired United States Army Colonel David Gillespie of the Office of the United States Army Surgeon General and professor of surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Gillespie asked Society members to share their medical expertise as volunteer surgeons at LRMC. SVS members responded immediately. Currently, there is a waiting list of SVS surgeons who are willing to volunteer at LRMC during 2011.
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the United States advocate for 3,350 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at®. Follow SVS on Facebook and Twitter.

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