Skip to comments.Navy physician answers call to help in Philippines during Talon Vision (delivers baby)
Posted on 11/06/2008 9:27:44 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
SULA, TARLAC PROVINCE, Philippines - After a long hot day of treating patients at a medical and dental civil action project Oct. 21, U.S. Navy Lt. Christian Sutter, a physician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, attached to Marine Aircraft Group 36 for Talon Vision an annual exercise in the Philippines, recalled the prior day's work when he delivered a healthy baby boy, Christian Tomas.
He did not deliver the baby in a hospital or clinic; instead he delivered the child in the Tomas' home without high tech equipment or even running water. He was definitely outside his ideal medical environment in which he normally practices medicine.
Sutter, a Mankato, Minn., native, was in the Sula barangay providing medical services for patients at a medical and dental civic action project with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Gloria Tomas, in a nearby neighborhood, had sent for her midwife who then informed the medical personnel at the project that her patient was about to give birth, Sutter recalled.
That was when Sutter reacted. Having delivered numerous babies while working at the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, he was the physician with the most obstetrician experience. Sutter quickly grabbed his equipment, and then he and two hospital corpsmen ran to the house.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Visperas, the senior enlisted advisor with MWSS-171, a native of Baguio City, Philippines, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Halisky, a hospital corpsman with MWSS-171 and a native of Apple Valley, Calif., assisted in the delivery.
Family, friends, and neighbors swarmed the house peering through windows and doorways to witness the birth.
"It was a great experience all around. The whole family was there," Sutter said. "It was really sort of a community event. It was an amazing experience."
According to Lt. Raul Cardenal, the medical plans officer with Marine Aircraft Group 36 and a Miami, native, the birth went smoothly with no complication. The parents chose to name the boy after the doctor who delivered him.
"The family asked what my name was, and they seemed to like it," Sutter said. "They named the boy Christian, and I'm very honored by that."
For Sutter, the feeling of being able to take part in bringing life into the world was one of the things that drove him into the medical field.
Early in life, Sutter heard the calling to help people, and he answered by focusing on family practice in medical school.
"He really goes out of his way to get the most for his patients, and I think it just goes to show his character," said Lt. Jason Rice, the group surgeon with Marine Wing Support Group 17. "He is not just out there going through the motions. He really cares for his patients."
Because of the broad range of medical aspects family practice encompasses, it is often seen as a difficult practice to excel in due to the need to keep up with changing medicines and procedures, according to Rice, a Corning, N.Y., native.
"He (Sutter) is definitely not the type to sit back and just coast through life. He really goes out of his way to stay on top of things, and that's hard because medicine is always changing," Rice said.
Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise are annual bilateral training exercises conducted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military, which enhance military interoperability and improve communities through humanitarian assistance and civic action projects. The exercises concluded Oct. 27.
U.S. Navy Lt. Christian Sutter, a physician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, listens to the heartbeat and breathing of newborn Christian Tomas, while his mother, Gloria Tomas, watches, Oct. 21. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph A. Cabrera).
U.S. Navy Lt. Christian Sutter (left), a physician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Petty Officer 2nd Class Meghan Halisky, a corpsman with MWSS-171, and Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Visperas, the medical senior enlisted leader with MWSS-171, helped deliver Christian, the son of Gloria and Sonny Tomas, Oct. 20. The team is pictured here during a follow-on house call Oct. 21. The parents named their son Christian, after Sutter. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph A. Cabrera).
BZ Dr. Sutter.
Reminds me of the time I was the night-shift Resident in an inner-city ER - it was about 3 AM, and a very quiet night until the security guard runs in and says that a car just pulled into the emergency entrance with a woman in labor in the back seat. I ran out, and wound up delivering the baby in the back seat of a Chevy!
As I tied off the umbilical cord, I wondered if the baby had also been conceived there....