YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --
Migraines bothering you? Have you considered letting the
374th Medical Group Ear, Nose and Throat clinic give you a shot in
the head? A few Botox shots to relieve pain is just one of many ways ENT are
here to help. In fact, from treating aching heads to broken faces, the ENT team
is a vital part of what keeps Japan’s U.S. Air Force healthy.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Howell, 374th Contracting Squadron
unit deployment manager, used to have severe headaches that made focusing
difficult at work. That’s what led him to the group of medical professionals on
the 3rd floor of the 374 MDG building: the only Air Force ENT clinic
The Yokota ENT team knew how to treat Howell’s dilemma. Now Howell gets Botox shots in his forehead
every two months, relaxing muscles and soothing his chronic pain.
“It feels a lot better,” Howell said.
Howell still takes medication for headaches once or twice a
week, but regular Botox injections have made a difference in his life.
“You can’t just quit
life, you gotta work.” Howell said. “I also love working out. The treatment
makes my life easier because I can focus, I feel better and I don’t have to
take as much medication.”
Howell has gotten a helping hand from ENT in other ways too.
“People used to say I snore like a bear,” Howell said.
After consultations and informing Howell of his options, Lt.
Col. Chester Barton, 374 MDG ENT Otolaryngologist, shaved down Howell’s uvula to
open up his airways. Thanks to the expertise of Yokota’s medical professionals,
Howell estimates his snoring is reduced by 75 percent. That makes things a
little easier for his family.
Yet, there’s still more. The ENT clinic also performed
surgeries to help Howell with his sinus issues.
All in all, Howell is in better health thanks to Yokota’s
ENT. Staff Sgt. Tiffany Ortega, 374 MDG ENT technician, explained how that is
what she loves most about her job.
“Whether we treat them with medications or with surgery, my
reward is to see our patients get better and to hear them say ‘Thank you for
what you did for me,’” Ortega said.
Ortega, like other technicians, stays at the provider’s
right hand during procedures. She explained that she has seen a lot of sore
throats, ear infections and kids with things stuck up their noses. She is
capable of helping to reconstruct fractured jaws and realign broken noses.
According to Ortega, the most rewarding of all is to see
cancer patients recover. The clinic might have to repair a cancer patient’s jaw
bone structure after removing cancer.
“It’s rewarding seeing them get their quality of life
back,” Ortega said.
Supporting Ortega through it all are her teammates.
“We have great staff here,” Ortega said. “We are very
supportive of each other. It’s really nice to have coworkers who are like
family. Dr. Barton makes sure not only our patients are taken care of but we
and our families are too.”
The clinic also seems to stack up well with civilian
clinics, according to Barton.
“My experience comparing civilian general hospitals to us
is very good,” Barton said. “Our technology and staff are good and I think we
have a great connection between staff and patients. We’re a little more
personal because we’re all kind of brothers and sisters here.”
After helping patients with their ear, nose and throat
issues all day, the Yokota ENT clinic has a little bit of advice for everyone.
“Stop using Q-tips!” Ortega said.
Ortega noted that Q-tips push wax deeper into the ears and
can cause hearing obstruction and permanent eardrum damage.