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Like a Cable Boss: Connecting Medical Technology

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Bayard Lewis
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar –Inspecting and connecting tiny wires may seem like a small task, but it’s one that has a big effect on medical care that military patients receive in deployed locations like Qatar.

Senior Airman Andrea President’s work to troubleshoot and repair medical device connections at Al Udeid impacts more than just the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The networked devices she repairs provide medical support for Airmen throughout the Middle East.

As a Medical Information Service Systems Technician, President is responsible for servicing the entire 379th Expeditionary Medical Group at Al Udeid, including 11 buildings and over 150 users. It’s an unusual amount of responsibility and recently she rose to the occasion.

Less than two months after deploying to Al Udeid, she fixed the network cabling on a DX-D 300 X-ray machine by manually uncovering the inoperable connection and determining which connectors needed to be rewired to restore connectivity.

“The biomedical engineers needed assistance with the actual configuration of the Ethernet cable for an X-Ray machine. They called in the expertise of Senior Airman President to go in, reconfigure the wire cabling on the inside of the cable to allow it to actually communicate from the medical piece of equipment to the medical computer to allow images to actually be stored on the database to be seen across the entire AOR,” said Tech. Sgt. Chad Biro, 379th Expeditionary Medical Support Squadron Non-commissioned Officer in Charge of Medical Information Service Systems Office.

The X-ray machine had been down for 19 months. With the connection restored, radiologists were once again able to send X-rays to bases throughout Air Forces Central. The images can also go back to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, following patients to home stations around the world.

As her supervisor, Biro was proud to share how President stepped up in her new role.

“Airman President was able to operate alone for one month acting as a master sergeant in this position during a vacancy. She was able to coordinate with Communication Focal Point, Cybersecurity Division, and AFMOST [AFCENT Medical Operations Support Team], which is a component of AFCENT that coordinates all medical requirements inside the AOR”, Biro said.

In her civilian life, she serves as a police officer and is part of a Hostage/Crisis Negotiation task force. “The ability to stay calm in very stressful situations,” is how she described what her civilian skills bring to her military work.

Leading a life of dual service is common for members of the Guard and Reserves, but what’s uncommonly special about President’s service is the level of passion, dedication, and ingenuity she brings to the job every day.

President is one of the first military members in a new, highly specialized career field that just began operating in January of this year. Because there is no technical training school yet, President has had to learn everything on-the-job.

“I would have never learned anything about Medical IT if I had never come on this deployment. I’m going to continue this when I get home to California. When there’s opportunities for us to immerse ourselves, we’re going to do it. We want to roll up our sleeves. When we all need to be hands on deck, we’ll be ready.”