Partnership in Detainee Healthcare

By: Spc. Fabian Ortega
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

Camp Copper, Iraq — As United States military continues to work closely with Coalition Forces in military operations around the globe, Task Force 21, a team comprised of Soldiers from the Army Medical Department and the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), had to bid farewell to their Romanian counterparts recently. 

Task Force 21 and the Romanian medical squad made up the Wire Medicine Team at Camp Copper, Iraq that was responsible for providing medical care for more nearly 4,000 detainees

From the very beginning of the partnership, the medical team from Romania proved to be very experienced healthcare providers and created a great experience for the various medical departments within the Task Force, said Cpt. Rachel Park, a staff nurse with the 21st CSH. 

“They were instrumental physicians that provided initial care to a lot of detainee patients,” said Park. “The initial processing piece is a crucial part of what the wire does as this is the initial point at which any diagnoses are identified.”

The Romanian Team consisted of two physicians and six nurses. The team immediately became a part of the TF 21 family and joined in all the American Holidays joining TF 21 Soldiers in leisure activities, Park said.

Lt. Col. Harold Sano, Chief of Pharmacy for TF 21, shared that Romanian Sgt. First Class Mariana Niculae, Chief Nurse and pharmacy technician provided a wealth of knowledge in detainee pharmaceutical care from her experiences in her previous deployments with TF 115 and TF 344. Niculae tracked pharmaceutical supplies and saved the Task Force in thousands of dollars in cost avoidance. 

“Niculae was previously deployed to Abu Ghraib for detainee healthcare, she was familiar with the drug formulary that (21st CSH) inherited from the 344th CSH, our predecessor,” said Park. “Niculae’s knowledge of specific medications on hand allowed the TF 21 physicians to make quick therapeutic decisions in emergent trauma cases where time is of essence,” she said.

The nurses quickly bonded with the other nurses and it was great to show the Romanian Team nursing care and hearing their desires to take what they have learned to further nursing education in Romania, Park said.

“All the Romanian nurses were so instrumental in decreasing the workload for the staff as they assisted with phlebotomy, starting IV’s, medication administration and assisting with dressing changes in not only the Intensive Care Ward, but the Intensive CareUnit and the Emergency Medical Team as well,” she said.

Task Force 21 and the Romanian Medical Team not only built team unity, but a camaraderie that bridged all language and cultural barriers according to Park. 

“The personnel in Task Force 21 benefited from the Romanians in their healthcare knowledge and care as well as in exchanging the cultures that make the people and the country so instrumental in this mission,” said Park. “Any medical team lucky enough have worked with the Romanians would agree the invaluable partnership the Romanian Medical Team provides cannot be measured,” added Park.

“We want to thank the Romanian Medical Team and wish them the best as they head home,” said Park.


Partnership in Detainee Healthcare
Front Row: COL Sproat; TF 21 DCCS, SFC Robu, SFC Niculae, LTC Lodi; TF 21 XO
Back Row: LTC Robles-Stokes; TF 21 Chief Nurse, SFC Ciocan, SFC Gheonea, SFC Ciobanu, SFC Gheonea, COL Clark; TF 21 Commander, COL Paul; Asst. Surgeon General of Romania, LT Zaharia, LT Ianc