DA NANG, Vietnam - Approximately 90 medical professionals from the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and Vietnamese hospitals and medical centers conducted a restorative medical summit at the Da Nang Northern Hotel during Pacific Partnership 2015.
The summit highlighted best medical practices in specialized areas of practice for the U.S. military and civilian medical communities, as well as Vietnamese military and civilian medical personnel and enabled leaders to share medical experiences.
"This summit is a highlight of a two-week collaboration of intensive subject matter expert exchanges on cutting-edge reconstruction procedures such as laser scar revision and surgical scare revision," said Cmdr. Peter Shumaker, the chairman of dermatology at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and currently aboard Mercy.
Pacific Partnership 2015 collaboration teams included U.S. and Vietnamese military, Operation Hope, Da Nang General Hospital, various Da Nang medical centers, and Hanoi’s National Institute of Burns medical personnel.
"Pacific Partnership activity is very meaningful in Vietnam with so many exchanges on treatment of wounds, scars and burns," said Vietnam People's Army Maj. Gen. Nguyen Gia Tien, director of the National Institute of Burns in Hanoi.
"I believe our capability will be improved, from low-level village medical experts to higher levels, such as Da Nang hospitals and military experts.”
Specialized medical topics covered at the summit included dermatology, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
"In my multidisciplinary efforts and warrior rehabilitation work, I find it very valuable to work closely with our colleagues from other specialties," said Shumaker. "And we are trying to bring that working model here to Vietnam."
The highlight of the medical summit included a father and his daughter speaking to the group to express their gratitude for everybody's involvement in treating the girl’s burn injuries. The girl received numerous skin reconstruction surgeries from past Pacific Partnerships and other medical outreach programs.
"The best part of this exchange is that we get to develop lasting relationships with our Vietnamese counterparts." said Shumaker. "One result of that is seeing a young patient who has been treated in three different Pacific Partnerships and two other missions in between. She embodies the benefits of long-term collaboration."
Doctors attending the summit also treated approximately 50 patients at Da Nang General Hospital for various burn scars and physically altering traumatic injuries during PP15.
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is currently in Vietnam for its fourth mission port of PP15.
Pacific Partnership is in its 10th iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.