John Hutto, MD, provides urgent care for U.S. military members injured in Afghanistan
– John Hutto, MD, a vascular surgeon and wound care specialist at Prevea Health in Green Bay, Wisc. and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), recently volunteered his medical expertise to wounded soldiers coming back from Afghanistan. He provided this care during a two-week rotation at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) near Kaiserslautern, Germany where soldiers can be stabilized before returning to military hospitals in the United States.
Dr. Hutto currently cares for veterans and other patients and has a robust vascular, trauma, and wound care practice. He did his Vascular Surgery Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati; there was exposed to many military surgeons’ from the Institute of Military Medicine, who provide state-of-the-art training as well as improved and innovative treatment approaches for caring for wounded or acutely injured soldiers.
Although he has never served in the military Dr. Hutto became very interested in combat surgery. He said he was inspired to volunteer after learning from military surgeons about their experiences and service at surgical hospitals like LRMC and Walter Reed Medical Center.
“While I was serving at LRMC, I wanted to see first-hand how soldiers with extensive injuries were cared for, knowing this information might help in the surgical care in my civilian practice,” said Dr. Hutto. “I also hoped to impart even just a little bit of my knowledge on advancing their care.”
Dr. Hutto was integrated into the Trauma Surgery/Surgical Critical Care Team. “I did not see any major vascular reconstructions, but assisted in the operating room doing wound care wash-outs of open surgical abdomens and recent open amputations,” added Dr. Hutto. “I lent my vascular expertise as a consultant to other surgeons; consulted to the medical service on soldiers who had recent strokes; and was an educator to residents. In addition, I assisted a spine surgeon and general surgeon in exposing the lumbar spine for a spinal fusion in a soldier who had degenerative joint disease.”
Dr. Hutto said he visited and cared for recent transfers from the Middle East, and said that staff took care of a lot of coalition forces, not just Americans. He said he was surprised that most injuries were from the blasts from improvised explosive devices blasts, not arms fire. Dr. Hutto said that as a civilian surgeon at a medium-sized community hospital, he might be called upon to care for veterans of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and he wanted to know their plight better.
“It was a fantastic experience," added Dr. Hutto. “From the commanding surgeons to the nurses to the support staff, everyone was exceptional and worked well together for one goal: to serve the soldiers making great sacrifices for us. They seemed very appreciative that I was there.
I deeply respect the military and the courageous men and women serve in the military and fight for our freedoms, and know that I would absolutely volunteer there again.”
The LMRC is the largest American hospital outside the United States and an American College of Surgeons Level 1 Trauma Center. Since 2001, the medical staff at LRMC has treated more than 64,000 patients from Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Since September 2007, a total of 84 SVS members have volunteered to supplement the limited number of vascular surgeons at the LMRC.
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 national advocate for 4,008 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at www.VascularWeb.org