CHICAGO - Wang Teng, MD, a Laguna Hills, California vascular surgeon, has recently returned from a two-week rotation Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LMRC) located near Kaiserslautern, Germany. While there, he helped care for U.S. military members who needed urgent care after being critically injured in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).
Dr. Teng is the director of the Vascular Center Saddleback Memorial Health System and is on staff at the South Orange County Surgical Medical Group. He learned about the rotation opportunity from the Society for Vascular Surgery, ® (SVS) where he is a member. Since September 2007, a total of 84 SVS members have volunteered to supplement the limited number of vascular surgeons at the LMRC.
After sharing his vascular knowledge and offering his medical expertise with LMRC, Dr. Teng says it was such a rewarding experience he hopes to volunteer again next summer.
The LRMC is a stopping point where soldiers can be stabilized before returning to military hospitals in the United States. It 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.
“No one in my family comes from a military background,” Dr. Teng, “and this my first time volunteering for any type of medical mission work. In fact, this was my first trip to Europe. To say the least, volunteering at LRMC was an emotional and academic eye-opening experience. ”
“I was amazed by the magnitude of trauma and injuries suffered in Middle East combat,” said Dr. Teng. “During my rotation fighting had slowed and only five to ten patients per week were flown to Landstuhl, but I was still impressed by the extent of injuries we saw that included multiple limb traumatic amputations from explosions and long-range missle injuries from sniper fire.”
Dr. Teng added that his role at LRMC was mostly to serve as an in-house 24-7 vascular consultant. He assessed limbs for vascular injuries, evaluated vascular reconstructions performed in the field, participated in surgical rounds in the intensive care unit, and worked side-by-side active duty staff trauma surgeons.
“I also worked with general surgery residents,” said Dr. Teng. “I saw inpatient and outpatient vascular consultations with active duty military and their families and did some elective surgery with the spine surgeons, including surgically exposing the spine for spine operations. I was given a VIP tour of the patient transport system including seeing the inside of a C17 transport plane.”
“As a LRMC volunteer I had the opportunity to broaden my experience with vascular trauma; in my practice we cover a Level II trauma center," added Dr. Teng. “I was able to contribute to our country's service men and women, and to get a better understanding of military medicine and military surgical care.
I was especially touched by the hospital surgeons' and staff's compassion and sense of duty to our wounded soldiers.”
Following his rotation, Dr. Teng said that his wife and two children met him for a third week traveling through Bavaria (mostly Munich) where they stayed with a close family friend, and spent two days visiting Prague.
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 4,000 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease.