USS CARL VINSON, At sea (NNS) -- Noted neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Los Angeles Pediatric Hospital's Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Henri Ford assisted USS Carl Vinson's medical team in emergency surgery to remove concrete debris from a 12-year old Haitian girl's skull Jan. 18.Ship's Surgeon, Lt. Cmdr (Dr.) Kathryn Berndt diagnosed the girl as having a 1.2 cm piece of concrete embedded in her skull which was removed the night she arrived. During the post-operation debrief, Berndt requested a neurosurgical consult. One well-known neurosurgeon in the region came to mind."Our senior medical officer, Doctor (Alfred) Shwayhat, told me about the situation and asked if I could track down Dr. Gupta," said Carl Vinson's Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Lt. j.g. Erik Schneider. "With the help of a CNN producer, we called CNN in Atlanta who then patched us through to Doctor Gupta in Port-au-Prince.""Someone got a hold of our international desk which is our world headquarters which we're in touch with every hour," said Gupta. "They said there was an urgent call from the Carl Vinson. So I put a call in to them and there was something about a head injury. I initially spoke to Doctor Berndt and she explained the situation." "It was literally, 'Paging Dr. Gupta off the coast of Haiti from the USS Carl Vinson,'" said Shwayhat.
Following further consultation, a second surgery was deemed necessary. After the medical team irrigated the injury and provided the initial care, Berndt's team, assisted by Gupta and Ford, scrubbed in.
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Also ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Haiti Jan. 19 to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for earthquake survivors and bolster relief operations already underway in support of Operation Unified Response.
This sea-based force will bring added capabilities to aid the relief efforts without taxing the already strained infrastructure ashore. Comprised of heavy-lift and utility helicopters, trucks and humvees, assault amphibian vehicles, and logistics capabilities to include water purification and limited medical support, the 22nd MEU will further enhance the humanitarian relief efforts ashore.The 22nd MEU is a multimission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.In addition to Bataan, the Amphibious Relief Mission also includes USS Carter Hall, USS Fort McHenry, USS Gunston Hall and detachments from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron 15, Tactical Air Control Squadron 21, Fleet Surgical Team 8, Assault Craft Unit 4 and Beachmaster Unit 2.
As has the cruiser the USS Normandy. It "will support relief efforts by providing air surveillance for the heavy air traffic in the area. The ship will also act as a ready deck, or an at sea platform able to accept helicopters on deck and provide refueling services."
Finally, the USNS Grasp, a "Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage vessel, began dive operations with embarked U.S. Army's 544th Engineer Dive Team to assess the damage to the port facilities in order to reopen them for operations, allowing relief supplies and personnel additional access to provide aid."