U-M vascular surgeon volunteers to treat soldiers

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -  John E. Rectenwald, M.D., has volunteered to fill a slot in the surgery rotation at Landstuhl Regional MedicalCenter at Ramstein Air Base in Germany where many soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.

A vascular surgeon at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, Rectenwald will volunteer May 23-June 7. He joins 51 other members of the Society for Vascular Surgery in relieving the limited number of vascular surgeons in the military who are filling positions in military hospitals in the United States and internationally.

Rectenwald says he wants to help the men and women serving in the U.S. military. "As a vascular surgeon I have the training to help these wounded soldiers in a unique way,"  says Rectenwald, 39, who is also an assistant professor of surgery and assistant professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School.

Rectenwald responded to a call for volunteers made by the SVS, a national advocate for 2,800 vascular surgeons dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease.

He is on staff at the University of Michigan Health System, where his wife  Rebecca Minter, M.D., also works as a general surgeon. They are raising their 1 ½ year-old son, Jack, in Ann Arbor

The volunteer mission means using his life-saving skills, usually performed at the nationally recognized U-M Cardiovascular Center and its new arterial and venous programs, in a dramatically different environment.
 
"Our members understand how important expert surgeons are to the military in saving the lives and limbs of these young military heroes," says K. Wayne Johnston, SVS past president.
 
"We were contacted by SVS member, retired Col. David Gillespie, who at the time was the vascular surgery consultant at the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General and a professor of surgery at Walter Reed Medical Center, and our members quickly responded," Johnston says.  "I am proud to represent a specialty that unselfishly contributes where they are needed."
 
Injuries incurred in the Iraq war are unique in that they include blast injuries from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and high-velocity injuries from crashes. Vascular surgeons repair the damaged arteries and veins that are injured as a result of the IEDs by using both minimally invasive and open surgery.
Society for Vascular Surgery
Media contact: Emily Kalata
University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center

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