By Greg Mitchell, USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka hosted its eleventh annual Perinatal Care Symposium at Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka’s Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Officers Club Sept. 23.
The symposium gave USNH Yokosuka staff members an opportunity to conduct academic-based discussions with their Japanese counterparts, highlighting both similarities and differences of the Japanese and American health care systems and how both take care of pregnant mothers.
“We are honored to have our Japanese guests every year and this symposium continues to improve each year because of the attendance and participation,” said Capt. Glen Crawford, commanding officer, USNH Yokosuka. “This symposium allows my staff and your staff to get to know each other to exchange ideas and to share thoughts on how we can best provide care to the patients we serve.”
In attendance were medical providers from both U.S. and Japanese medical treatment facilities, to include the Yokohama Children’s Hospital. Medical staff from the two countries engaged in discussions about the state of healthcare in Japan as well as inside the Navy medical system.
During these training sessions the atmosphere of open dialogue is used as a way towards strengthening the bond between the two nations, while also ensuring that when an emergency occurs, both medical teams can work together to provide the best medical care possible.
“The topics that were covered in this symposium are very thought provoking; we talked about some of the cultural differences in health care unique to the United States and I think it is fair to say that we (U.S.) become fascinated about what our counterparts are doing,” said Lt. Cmdr. Virginia Hazlett, certified nurse-midwife, assigned to the maternal infant unit at USNH Yokosuka. “We purposely choose topics that challenge our skills and we can discuss new ways and share our unique viewpoints in order to stay sharp and be ready for any case that may come our way.”
This year’s symposium featured a unique patient case that started at USNH Yokosuka, proceeding out in town when the patient was transferred to two different Japanese hospitals and back to a military treatment facility. Teams involved were able to hear all sides of the story, analyze the outcome, brainstorm the best course of action, and suggest improvements.
“We rely upon our Japanese partner hospitals, and our true net benefit is the ease of transfer when our patients need a higher level of care, as well as a mutual understanding of how our systems are different but our goals are the same,” said Hazlett. “In my discussion with our Japanese counterparts at events such as this one or other times when we may just have lunch together, I love to hear that we ultimately have the same goal to take care of our patients and they are willing to lend a helping hand.”
U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka is the largest U.S. military treatment facility on mainland Japan caring for approximately 43,000 eligible beneficiaries while delivering an average of 535 infants each fiscal year.