More than ‘Band-Aid medicine’

Modern Healthcare - - OPINION EDITORIALS -

I am a Navy vet­eran and a hos­pi­tal corps­man. While I agree with much of what was writ­ten in the re­cent story “Strug­gles for ex-mil­i­tary” (May 20, p. 18), I have to take is­sue with a few of the state­ments. Sandy Sum­mers stated, “It’s not just about ty­ing a tourni­quet and call­ing it a day.” Shame on her; ap­par­ently Ms. Sum­mers has never worked with a mil­i­tary medic.

My ad­ven­ture as a hos­pi­tal corps­man started in 1988 per­form­ing the same du­ties as a li­censed prac­ti­cal nurse. Many of my ship­mates, in­clud­ing my­self, gained suf­fi­cient knowl­edge and skill to work in “sick call,” where we made mi­nor di­ag­noses and cre­ated care plans—plans that we of­ten had to carry out our­selves. Sev­eral of my ship­mates went on to com­plete in­de­pen­dent duty corps­man train­ing, which es­sen­tially al­lowed them to op­er­ate as a physi­cian as­sis­tant, yet still re­quired them to per­form as a nurse when none were avail­able. As a mil­i­tary medic, we do re­ceive EMT train­ing, but we also re­ceive so much more.

My ex­pe­ri­ences are just with the Navy, but each branch of the De­fense Depart­ment has highly qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als who can per­form so much more than “ty­ing a tourni­quet and call­ing it a day.” I would en­cour­age all of the schools to in­ves­ti­gate what we do. I would es­pe­cially en­cour­age Sandy Sum­mers to spend some time in the mil­i­tary med­i­cal sys­tem and dis­cover that we do more than “Band-Aid medicine.”

Ran­dal Gore Man­ager, ra­di­ol­ogy, Lower Um­pqua Hos­pi­tal Reed­sport, Ore.

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