Saturday, August 26, 2006
A Message From The Doctor
The following is a 'Guest Post' from "Dr. Turtle", my husband who has just returned from serving at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Germany. I thank him for his selfless service and thank you all for what we do on behalf of our injured military. I expect a couple more posts from him after he adjusts to being back home.
At the request of "Mrs. Turtle," I am sending a guestpost to all of her friends at the Lake regarding my experiences at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center(LRMC). Although I am not blessed with Mrs Turtle's gift of writing prose, hopefully I can convey to you what it is like as an anti-war military physician taking care of wounded soldiers.
As I have told Mrs. Turtle, this experience was very hard for me emotionally. Before arriving at Landstuhl, I had naively expected that the majority of the people
working at LRMC would be opposed to the war, given the everyday horror seen in the intensive care unit. This was not so. There were very few people I encountered
who were as vocal as me regarding their disgust of what we are doing in the Middle East. Perhaps, as Mrs.Turtle says, military people are scared of making
statements such as these, afraid that it will affect their military career, or that they will be "watched."
When a soldier arrives at LRMC, naturally the physicians and nurses would like to contact the soldier's family to let them know what happened to the patient, etc. The rule is that a member of the medical team is not allowed to contact the family until a member of the patient's unit has done so. This did not seem like a big deal at first, until I made efforts to contact the military liaison/casualty affairs to find
out if the family had been contacted by their unit so I in turn could do so. These two offices are extremely disorganized and each tries to "pass the buck" to the
other with regards to initiating contact. There was a soldier admitted to LRMC while I was there whose family found out about their son's condition on myspace.com before the appropriate military offices had called them. This is reprehensible.
There were times when I was fed up and called the patient's family myself, rather than making a dozen phone calls to find out if someone had already done so, and still having no answer. I dreaded those phone calls. I can only imagine the pit in their loved one's stomach when I introduced myself on the phone, and where I was calling from.
One positive thing I can say about LRMC is that everyone there (whether pro- or anti-war) is there for the soldiers. This is a kind of patient care and compassion I have not seen before. Although the hospital in many ways is inefficient, every single
person I encountered in the intensive care unit works hard to make sure the patient/soldier receives excellent and efficient care. I think it may be this way because everyone feels that it is the least they can do.
That's all that I have to say right now. Thanks to all of you at the Lake for being a good friend to Mrs. Turtle. Lastly, thank you for your kind words regarding my service that were relayed to me by Mrs. Turtle. You all make her very happy.