American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2017 Military Volunteer Award: Zsolt T. Stockinger

CAPT Zsolt T. Stockinger, MD, FACS

CAPT Zsolt T. Stockinger, MD, FACS, a U.S. Navy general surgeon, Fort Sam Houston, TX, received the Military Surgical Volunteerism Award for providing surgical care and training and developing surgical capacity while on voluntary deployment to austere environments.

In 2010, Dr. Stockinger volunteered for the U.S. military mission to Haiti to provide medical care after the earthquake that ravaged the country, but he also stepped in to fill some of the planning and organizational gaps in emergency response. The USNS Comfort served at the center of the military’s aid efforts, acting as the referral center for medical centers in Haiti. Seeing that the volume of incoming patients was too high to accept all, Dr. Stockinger developed acceptance criteria, strategies to guide patient flow, and a discharge plan. To enable the transfer and continuity of postoperative care for seriously injured patients aboard the Comfort, Dr. Stockinger surveyed all of the functional civilian hospitals in Haiti. He was the only U.S. military general/trauma surgeon present for the Comfort’s entire seven-week mission.

Dr. Stockinger also has served on voluntary deployments to embattled regions of Afghanistan. He was in Kandahar in 2011–2012, when the local Afghan army hospital was understaffed, with all trauma patients going to the regional North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) hospital. Dr. Stockinger was able to communicate with the Afghan Army corps commander to increase medical personnel and capability at the local hospital, which led to it becoming the Level I trauma center for both Afghan Army and civilian injuries in the region. This amplified medical capability became increasingly important as U.S. military presence in the country decreased.

He then volunteered as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Regional Command surgeon in Helmand province in 2013. This was the only region of the country without an Afghan Army hospital or any surgical capability. NATO funding for a planned hospital had been diverted, and no resources were available to build one. Without trauma treatment capability, Afghan Army forces were expected to experience severe losses as U.S. and coalition forces withdrew. Dr. Stockinger worked with coalition contacts, the Afghan surgeon general, and the Minister of Health, and within six weeks Afghan surgeon teams from Kabul were deployed to Helmand to operate in a tented facility. By the end of his tour, ground had been broken for a permanent facility and funding and equipment procured for the first-ever Afghan Army surgical facility in Southern Afghanistan.

In addition to his work in Haiti and the Middle East, Dr. Stockinger has provided direct surgical intervention, infrastructure development, and surgical training in Pakistan, Ukraine, Mauritius, Ghana, and Southeast Asia.

CAPT Zsolt T. Stockinger, MD, FACS,

CAPT Zsolt T. Stockinger, MD, FACS
CAPT Zsolt T. Stockinger, MD, FACS