PADANG, Indonesia – With only one
of the four local hospitals operational, a U.S. Air Force
humanitarian assistance rapid response team (HAART) continues to
help local medical professionals treat an increasing number of
patients in the wake of recent earthquakes.
HARRT members have cared for more than 350 patients in the two days
since opening a mobile field hospital. Common ailments treated
include infections, broken bones and infectious diseases.
“You hate to see someone survive an earthquake and die from an
infection,” said Maj. Brenda Parker, a HARRT nurse deployed from the
36th Medical Operations Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
“Helping the people here is not only the right thing to do but the
humane -- and I’m glad to be part of this operation.”
Staff Sgt. Beth Sherman, an individual duty medical technician also
deployed from the 36th MDOS, said most of the patients she has
treated here have come in because of infections following injuries
suffered during the earthquake.
“It‘s important that we are here treating these infections,” she
said. “It has been almost 10 days since the earthquake and many
people we have seen waited for treatment, so the quicker we treat
them the less chance the infection can spread possibly causing more
Although they’re providing care from tents instead of pristine
medical facilities, HARRT members say the mission of caring for
people comes first, echoing the Air Force core value of “Service
“We have the capability to go anywhere throughout the Pacific region
in a moment’s notice during times of disaster,” said Major Parker.
“No matter how austere the location we continue on with our
The 69-member HARRT arrive in Indonesia Oct. 5 and set up a mobile
field hospital near the M. Jamil hospital in Padang to work closely
with host-nation medical personnel. The field hospital is equipped
to provide treatment ranging from acute to surgical care.
The HARRT is one component of recovery
operations led by Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, which is
coordinating U.S. military assistance at the request of the