Ortho clinic keeps warfighters fighting

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Thomas Spangler
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
When an Airman, dependent or retiree in the Nellis AFB community breaks a bone, tears a ligament or suffers any other musculoskeletal injury, the Airmen of the orthopedic clinic at the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Medical Center go into action to treat the injured person.

Approximately 14,000 patients walk through the clinic's doors every year for treatment.

To treat these patients, the clinic has four surgeons, one podiatrist, two physician's assistants and nine technicians on staff all trained to treat injured Airmen so they can return to their jobs.

"We keep the warfighter fighting," said Master Sgt. Luis Contreras, 99th Medical Operations Squadron orthopedic flight chief.

The orthopedic clinic at Nellis is equipped to handle almost any musculoskeletal injury to help keep Nellis and Creech AFB Airmen mission ready.

"There are a lot of (military treatment facilities) around the world that can't see dependents, they can't take care of a lot of acute injuries," said Staff Sgt. Samuel Scott 99th MSGS orthopedic technician. "For example, they can't do joint replacements or (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstructions. Here at Nellis we can do everything but spinal injuries."

Patients who come to the clinic with spinal injuries are sent to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, a civilian facility in Las Vegas equipped to deal with spinal injuries.

In addition to keeping Nellis and Creech AFB Airmen ready to complete their mission and being equipped to handle almost any injury, the Airmen of the orthopedic clinic stay with their patients from the beginning to the end of treatment, and as a result, have huge patient satisfaction ratings.

"There's a big patient satisfaction because you see them before hand, and then you see them afterward," Scott said. "We get to know them and their families, so when they're on the table for surgery we know who they are and what they need from us."

Despite the large number of patients and the many hours it takes to treat them, the Airmen of the orthopedic clinic still find great joy in treating the Nellis AFB community and getting its Airmen back into fighting form.

"We're all excited to work here, we love our patients," Scott said. "We've got a huge patient load and it's always growing, but everybody comes into work with a smile."