Skip to main content

Essex County Doctor Leads Groundbreaking Surgery at Erbil Air Base Iraq

Glen Ridge

By: Richard L. Smith 

A remarkable display of international cooperation and medical expertise has come to our attention. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Karl Coutinho, a practicing urologist from our Essex County area, led a team of coalition surgeons in a significant medical procedure at Erbil Air Base, Iraq. VaccineRLS Media learned that Lt. Col. Karl Coutinho is a Glen Ridge resident. 

This event marked the first emergency surgery performed at the base's medical facility in over three years, as reported by U.S. Army Journalist Capt. Kyle Marr.

Accoridng to Capt. Marr, on April 19, 2024, Lt. Col. Coutinho, who also serves as the brigade surgeon for the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, along with his team, successfully conducted an exploration and bilateral orchiopexy.

The surgery involved intricate teamwork among specialists from different nations, demonstrating the coalition's dedication to delivering high-quality medical care under challenging conditions.

Glen ridge Capt. Marr said the patient, a U.S. service member, was urgently flown from Baghdad to Erbil for this surgery and is expected to make a full recovery after the successful two-hour operation.

The surgical team included U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Julianne Oates and Lt. Cmdr. Justin Frisenda, as well as German Army Lt. Col. Sebastian Fischer.

Captain Marr said each member played a pivotal role in the procedure, with Oates expressing her satisfaction with the team's performance and Fischer emphasizing the importance of international collaboration in such missions.

Erbil This surgical milestone at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, highlights the skilled capabilities of the multi-national coalition’s medical teams and their readiness to provide advanced healthcare services promptly.

Lt. Col. Coutinho stressed the essence of their mission, stating, “Medicine during a deployment requires a multidisciplinary approach.

A cross-coalition and multi-branch surgical team seems complex, but rehearsals and exercises prepared us to work as one unit. Regardless of where we are from, we all speak the same language of medicine.”

As the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve continues, its success serves as a testament to the professionalism and unified spirit of the coalition’s medical personnel, who strive to provide exceptional care in emergency scenarios.