Doctors vs Line Officers

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Handsome1, May 9, 2008.

  1. Handsome1

    10+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    Likes Received:
    In general (obviously it varies by person and what type of person you are) how would say doctors are treated?

    Does the marine 0-3 automatically look down on you or does he understand your role is different and respect that?

    Is the flight surgeon part of the squadron and respected for his expertise or is he hated as the one who might ground the aviator?

    Is the DMO working with Seals, EOD, etc... an outsider?

    Do enlisted members treat medical officers the same way?

    Does an infantry unit view you different then a supply unit?

    etc... you get the idea, hopefully an interesting discussion
  2. alpha62

    alpha62 Membership Revoked

    Apr 29, 2006
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    I'm only a PA, but I was put in BDE Surgeon slot with an Artillery Unit overseas, collocated with an AVN BN. Eventually, they sent me to flight surgeon course at Ft. Rucker.

    The first week I got there, I made the usual and customary liver rounds at the O-club on Friday. By 1900, everybody was drunk and a helicopter pilot got nose to nose with me and wanted to fight because I played a song on the jukebox he didn’t like. The guy was huge, but I stared him down in a Mexican Standoff for about 30 tense seconds before his buddy pulled him off. Fortunately, that's all it took and I got street cred after that and had a great time after that.

    When you PCS to a freakin MTF, these little worms don't call you out in the bar, they just passive-aggressively stab you in the back with a lot of paper work and extra call.

    Trust me, I’ve been in military and civilian medicine for 25 years. You won’t know it at the time, but the Flight Surgeon gig will eventually turn out to be the best and most fun you’ll ever have in Medicine.

    If my wife had let me stay in, I’d still be doing it. I love her about 40% more than the army, so it was an easy call.
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. sethco

    sethco Senior Member
    15+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2003
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    Attending Physician
    Yes, we are respected for our expertise.

    However, the beaucracy is double for Squadron Medical Elements (SME). We fall under two separate chain of commands with neither fully taking responsibility for decisions. In essence, we are the bast*** step-child of military medicine.

    While, the whole squadron might initially look at you with some form of contempt as a person who is only there to DNIF you, this eventually changes over time as you gain their trusts and you do things for the greater good of their health. The command will respect you for getting the squadron operationally ready and the individuals will respect you for looking out for them.

    Given all this, you will still finds times where you have to "drop the hammer" on somebody and be the unpopular guy in the squadron. Although, I am friends with many people in the squadron, I try to look at each of them as my patients and I am there to do a job.

    Hope this helps.
  4. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2005
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    Attending Physician
    Pretty well by the line. You rate as a department head as an O-3; most department heads are O-4s trying for command at sea. Be kind to them, that is a competitive and frustrating point in a mid-career line officer's life.

    I was Navy, but I was well-treated in the wardroom. It helps if you can sing on Burns' Night and swallow the goldfish at the dining in.

    That is not a pleasant duty. If you do it fairly and with compassion, no one will blame you. They know you don't make the rules. I had to permanently down a friend of mine with a tonic-clonic seizure disorder. No waivers there. He got medically discharged too. I wrote appeals to get him as good a disability rating as I could get him. It was a shame, he was a good pilot and well-liked by the command and his crew. I am sure he became just as good an engineer as a civilian.

    I can only comment based on the experiences related to me by a residency classmate. He was an insider, for someone who didn't go into beyond the forward staging point.

    Generally, yes. It is important to remember the expression "familiarity breeds contempt." You should have the same kind of relationships to your Es
    as other good officers do. Don't show favoritism and be fair and up-front. Criticize behind closed doors, and not in front of anyone else.

    Your Chief is your friend. Treat him or her well. These days, many of them are well-educated and excellent performers; it is rare to see one who isn't. They are your trusted managers, and deserve your respect.

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