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Military Medicine is AWESOME!

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Andrew_Doan, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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  3. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    I'll say this before MilMD does: you may change your mind when you actually experience it for yourself.
     
  4. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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  5. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    No. This is impressive and awesome. Numerous ophthalmologists in the NAVY serve their 20 years. I signed up not for the money but for the career! ;)
     
  6. aznwangsta

    aznwangsta Senior Member
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    Nice article. And COL Gagliano is a West Point grad too. Maybe I should go to West Point after all...

    aznwangsta
     
  7. Globus P

    Globus P Senior Member
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    JKMed,
    Aren't your still an undergrad?
     
  8. HooahDOc

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    Yes, but this doesn't exclude me from having any military experience as well as reading the opinions and advice of those are are in the position.

    I don't see how this applies anyways. My comment was regarding military experience, which Doan does not have.
     
  9. Globus P

    Globus P Senior Member
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    Simply curious, not trying to start a fight.
     
  10. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    I wouldn?t really consider the University of South Carolina an undergrad school?more like a high school with ashtrays. (go Tigers)
     
  11. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    :D

    So what have you been doing with that degree in farming?
     
  12. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    Hey....at least I got to drive to school on a tractor. :D
     
  13. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    But I have friends and colleagues who are in the military. Why do you assume I am not well informed? Not all officers in the medical corps think like MilitaryMD. Not all fields in the military get "screwed". Ophthalmology is an awesome career in the military.

    I'll be a LT CDR by the time you're hitting the wards, assuming you get into medical school. Ask me then if I like my career. I hardly owe the Navy any time because I signed up as a resident. If I stay, then it's by choice. I had a MSTP scholarship during medical school. ;)

    I want to do more than just clinical medicine, and I can only see it happening in the military. In the military, there are opportunities that cannot be found in the civilian sector. How many people get the opportunity to be in charge of a hospital, the AFIP, commander of a medical team, or being paid to pursue additional training? If you had heard COL Donald A. Gagliano speak, then you would understand my motivations for being a military officer.
     
  14. haujun

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    Doctor, please share us your knowledge on the fields that we should avoid in the miltary???

    I sincerely admire your interest in the military.

    According to the director of military hospital (based on a study) there is a strong chance that you will leave at your earliest convinience since you did not train at military hospitals. Of course there is exception, and I hope you are the one.

    Good luck.

    MS II (HPSP) and Prior Enlisted.
     
  15. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Not all.....probably just over 2/3 to 3/4.

    Not all....just the ones that do well in the civilian communities.
     
  16. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    militaryMD...can you be my role model. I sincerely hope to one day share your negative outlook...b/c your posts always seem to brighten my day. :thumbdown:

    I'm sorry you got "screwed" in the military...but enough already...I think we're all (excluding haujun "prior enlisted" and JKDMed) tired of hearing you complain.

    Rotatores
     
  17. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    You should ask MilitaryMD about other fields that get screwed. Not considering the $$$ issue, I've heard that surgeons don't have enough cases.

    I can only write about Military Ophthalmologists. Most that I've met love it. Many in the Navy have tried to stay 20 years or more of service.

    My goals have always been to be an academic physician. I'll be paid about the same whether I'm a civilian academic or military academic physician (when I achieve that position); thus, I want to do something with greater value. Being a Vietnamese refugee, I also feel that I owe the United States for many of my opportunities and support I've received during all the years of my training. Joining the military is something I can do to help pay back to our society and great country.

    I am certain that I am an exception to the rule and previous studies. There are few MD-PhDs who were fully funded by MSTP that were commissioned as a resident.
     
  18. haujun

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    QUOTE=rotatores]militaryMD...can you be my role model. I sincerely hope to one day share your negative outlook[/QUOTE]


    This comment stirs up some interesting mentoring I've received from a military physician. One of my most respected officer, Colonel Jones from Fort Bragg who wrote me recommendation for both HPSP and USUHS gave me an e-mail address of his personal favorite military physician at Fort Bragg. He told me he can become a "good role model." At that time I was serving a hardship tour at korea and I contacted him via e-mail. He wrote me that after graduating from West Point and serving eight years as a field artillary officer he went to medical school on HPSP. Next, he begin list his comprehensive reasons for hating his military medicine. Here are some:

    1. Lack of support from his staff so he has to do all the work.
    2. Difficulty in delivering good care / continuity of care to the soldiers and their families because he has "other responsibiliies."
    3. Bad leadership from superior officers
    4. Constant moving (his wife hates this because it hurts her career)
    5. Less opportuntunity to get promoted if you just practice clinical medicine
    6. Lack of money

    After few more e-mails I knew this mentoring won't work. He said he is retiring from the military because he served too long already...

    I thught given his military background he would have no trouble in living / staying happy in the military environment. However I understand there are some very unhappy military physcians out there (just like civilian docs) and I am not surprised at their comments anymore. By knowing more about their negative experiences I am confident that I can take an integral part in correcting them if needed as I embark this journey as a military physician...

    Prior Enlisted
     
  19. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    Haujun...you bring up some great points. My only beef is that militaryMD constantly is bashing the military without giving any real personal reasons. He/she also seems to enjoy degrading those who enjoy (or those who are at least optimistic) about the military.

    At least Dr. Doan has the balls to use his real name.
     
  20. HooahDOc

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    I'm not saying I agree with MilMD. Hell, my original post was half-sarcastic. I just find it interesting someone (Doan) is so willing to praise military medicine without experiencing it for himself, or anything military for that matter. Has he even been to OBC yet? The people with whom he has spoken about it may have had experiences that are the exceptions and not the rules. What floats their boat may sink his. (Get it? Navy? Boats? Har har)

    My impression, at least the way it is supposed to work, is military physicians are military first, then physicians, not the other way around.

    I'm excited about military medicine, particularly because I want to serve my country. Do I expect a lot of bull****? You betcha, I'm not naive. However, I'm willing to put up with it anyways for two important reasons: (1) I want to serve and (2) I intend to do it regardless of whether I'm a physician, a JAG, or a Pilot. (All backup plans, btw)

    If Doan is as sincere as he makes himself out to be, the kudos for him! We need some more docs in the armed forces who are there for a love of America and not a love of free medical tuition.
     
  21. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    As everyone gives their ups or downs for military medicine, remember it is a pyramidal based system, i.e. you don't expect to keep everyone that starts and you plan for attrition because of life changes/disgruntlement, money, blah....

    USUHS was designed to give a core of military physicians that stick around longer, i.e. 7 years instead of 4. Kind of like the service academies having a 5 year commitment when ROTC/OCS have a 3-4 year commitment......

    Complain if you are having a bad tour(s), but for the guys/gals that are enjoying it, respect their career choice.
     
  22. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Which part of my post was a complaint? I simply stated facts that I'm aware of. I've worked with and met literally hundreds of active duty physicians in multiple commands, in 2 different continents, and all three services over the course of my 11 years, and I simply stated my estimates on their feelings and what I see happening in medicine.

    Why does that offend you? I think for every person on this board who is saying and praising the positives (and mind you, without actual experience), there should be 2 of me to bring them down to earth.....especially for those who are reading these posts and trying to decide on a career.

    Are you so insecure about your decision/feelings that a second opinion somehow makes what you believe/feel less true?
     
  23. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Where on my post did I bash anything? I stated that people were unhappy and leaving....especially in certain specialties.......that is a fact that the military is trying to change....otherwise they wouldn't be increasing bonuses and giving CSRBs, etc.

    You are reading more into what I'm saying then what I'm saying....perhaps that is telling us something about how you truly feel?

    I remain anonymous for personal reasons.....I may be paranoid, but that doesn't mean the institution doesn't have a lot of power over me.
     
  24. HeavyD

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    MilMD,

    I think (I hope) my experience has been and will be a more positive one than what you must have had thus far (I tend to be an optimist to a fault). This said, what you post carries great weight to this neophite of military medicine. The candor that you provide having been in the system as long as you have helps those like myself prepare for what might be or at least what some have gone through. I believe you as well as those who have had experiences like yours have kept me from being a defacto recruiter. I temper my enthusiasm when discussing HPSP with potential applicants with the valuable knowledge/experiences of those who know 'the other side of the coin' as it were. I try to provide a fair degree of accounts of both the +'s and -'s to these folks that may become fellow shipmates of mine. As Dive Doc had posted in the past, I hope that those who might make internship/practice in the Navy for me miserable take out loans instead of being earthsacs that I have to deal with in addition to the corn-holeing that awaits in Navy GME. You and those who post similar negative experiences tend to (thankfully) scare off those who would otherwise be members only barely 'on board' with the whole military deal and in it solely for the tution aspects.
    I say, keep it coming! Help us underlings out be keeping the dead wait from joining up in the first place.
     
  25. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I love how the sour grapes in the military forum ruin a nice post. I may have little military experience, but I'm not clueless. I've met over a dozen military ophthalmologists who love their careers. Perhaps, they are all brain washed and telling me lies. I think not.

    However, my original post was not about my experiences. I was commenting on what COL Gagliano has done for military medicine and the Iraqi people. If you can't see what he is doing is awesome and that military medicine can be a wonderful thing for our troops and the people they heal, then you must be too focused on negativity to see the bigger picture. The Army is performing state of the art surgery and ICU care in tents. They have sophisticated equipment, and established a burn unit in the desert. This is amazing.

    Thus, my original post was not about my experience. It is about COL Gagliano, who is a leader and positive role model for all you military physicians. Take a deep breath, and learn to see the beautiful things in life! ;)

    _______________________________
    The highlight of the Mid-Year Forum for me was meeting COL Donald A. Gagliano. He is the Commander of the 30th Medical Brigade in Iraq. He established the medical system in Baghdad for our troops and helped build the medical system in Iraq. He gave Iraqi physicians a voice in a system that squelched their ideas and creativity. He brought in residents from surrounding countries and trained them. He gave lectures on trauma medicine to the Iraqi physicians.

    His troops delivered high quality care to soldiers, civilians, prisoners, and children. He established a state of the art burn unit for war victims. The care delivered was sophisticated. The military had an ICU and burn unit in the middle of the desert. His accomplishments in Iraq are awesome.

    The inspiring thing for me, as a future Navy Ophthalmologist, is that COL Gagliano is a board certified ophthalmologist and retina surgeon. Awesome! :thumbup:

    http://www.30thmed.army.mil/Units/Command/30th%20Med%20Commander.htm

    COL Gagliano and me at the Mid-Year Forum.
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=2230
     
  26. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    I enjoy your posts on the positive side of military medicine:) :thumbup:
     
  27. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    There is no question that certain parts of what military medicine does is GREAT!

    However, remember the big picture. What is advertised/seen in the media of what military medicine does is the tip of the iceberg. What you/Col. G describe is a tiny fraction of military medicine as a whole.

    Remember the big picture, and it seems that I am the only one who is shooting with a wide angle lens here. This is a public forum, and I think all parts need to be equally represented.
     
  28. Heeed!

    Heeed! On target, On time!
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    I appreciate MilMD's posts because it's honest info from his perspective. I look at this forum like Fox News.....fair and balanced. We need to hear about both sides to make decisions on issues. Let's give our opinions, wave the BS flag when appropriate, and sling some karma. Here's a little for you MD...!
     
  29. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I spoke with my friend who is a LT COL Army ophthalmologist. He served as a GMO in Europe, went to medical school, completed an Army ophthalmology residency, and worked several years as an Army ophthalmologist. He's been assigned to some _ _ _ _ holes in the US and had conflicts with superior officers who out ranked him and were non-physicians. After 14+ years of service, he is very content. He said he'd do it all over again. He has a family with 2 kids, and he has one of the most content families I know.

    I then asked, how many ophthalmologists are content as military physicians. He thinks it's about 50%.

    Then he added, the ones who aren't happy have the following characteristics:

    1) high expectation of military medicine. Listen to MilitaryMD and others like him but also listen to NavyDiveDoc and others like him. Sign up with knowledge about military medicine. I did my research before signing the dotted line.

    2) lack of maturity.

    3) inability to adapt (e.g., angry because of moving all the time).

    4) spouse who is not supportive (e.g., upset because not close to family)

    5) unrealistic expectations of civilian medicine (i.e., grass is greener on the other side)

    I have much respect for this LT COL. He volunteered to go to Iraq, but the Army said he needed to complete fellowship training. I trust his opinion, and he definitely has been there and done that.

    Is he a good physician? Outstanding. He's training at one of the best civilian institutions now.

    Does he provide good care to his patients? Exceptional.

    He's on target to serve his full 20 years for the Army. I have a retired Navy Captain in my department who loved his 23+ years Navy Career. Perhaps I'm just fortunate to be surrounded by positive military role models. :thumbup:
     
  30. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    it's funny, lately i've been getting more of the "grass is greener" from the civilian docs talking about the military. when i started medschool, attendings i would run into would always say that HPSP was good, but they couldn't see themselves doing it, yada yada. within the last 2 months i've had at least 4 attendings tell me how they think the military would be a great place to practice because it would eliminate the worries about malpractice and the business aspects of running their practices. i even had an ortho surgeon (who was AF stationed at Sheperd AFB for 4 years) tell me that if it weren't for the moving she'd go back in a heartbeat.

    anyway, just an observation. :)
     
  31. flighterdoc

    flighterdoc Rocket Scientist
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    If you don't have kids, moving can be a blast - the military pays for professional movers to come and pack everything, they move it, and they unpack it. Sure can make you spoiled. And they haul the empty boxes away (or leave them, they're yours). Beats the heck out of u-haul.
     
  32. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    As I mentioned in one of the other threads, there is a basic philosophical difference between physicians in general and the practice of military medicine.

    The reasons stated above about why people become unhappy with the military is scratching the surface at best.

    You never really know what you're getting into when you join the military no matter who you talk to.....military medicine has changed dramatically in the last 20 years.....a lot in the last 10.....I think one of my main themes about my dissatisfaction with the military is the unpredictability of what may happen to you.

    To say you know what you're getting into without actually experiencing it is like saying I didn't really go to medical school, but I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night, so I should be able to repair your AAA.

    There are pros and cons to both sides, but the unpredictability of military medicine is a major CON.....

    On the whole, people are jumping ship left and right with 15 to 17 years of service, and not staying in the reserves. I think that speaks volumes as to the PROS/CONS.

    Things are very different now than 20 years ago. From the posters here, it seems all of the current active physicians are giving warning. That should say something.
     
  33. HeavyD

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    Anybody else hear these arguements (ie CONS) provided by MilMD from 'Old School' civilian attendings?
    "What the hell you doin' going into medicine, it has gone to hell in the past 20 years!" Cardiologist
    "I think you should be a stock-broker, that's where the money is." Ortho. surgeon
    "I'm getting out as soon as I can, medicine just isn't what it used to be. Definately go into banking." ER physician
    "No matter what you do, DO NOT go into general surgery. I get paid ~10 per hour I work" Gen. Surg
    "Man, if I were you, I would think about staying in the military as a career. It's only going to get worse out here on the civilian side." ER doc
    "Wish I could practice medicine without worrying about beurocratic hoops to jump through." IM doc

    The above are all quotes I received when I was in the Doc's lounge one weekday lunch hour at a well respected (top 100 hospitals/nation) civilian hospital when I was discussing med school and taking the HPSP. Mind you, these are all anicdotal but all from physicians who have been in the 'system' for at least 15 years each and have seen a great deal of change. Don't know if its a regional situation, a burn-out factor or if the evolution of medical practice (civilian side or otherwise) that causes disgruntlement in seasoned physicians. All the quoted docs are well respected in the medical community and are caring providers (based on personal interactions w/ them).
    I think there are often identical complaints of providers on either side of the service line. There are sure to be problems specific to the situation as well.
    It sounds that there will be a time when the frustration of peripheral structures surrounding medicine will exceed the satisfaction of practicing medicine itself. I just hope, where ever I am, it comes late into my career and is fleeting.
     
  34. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Yeah, I was told those same things too back in the late 80's when I was starting medical school.

    Certain things never change.
     
  35. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    One thing I've noticed about surgeons is that they all complain about pay, yet drive really nice cars.
     
  36. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    my personal favorite is the FP or internist that complains about how "all the money is gone" but only works 8-4 with an hour lunch and friday off. :laugh:
     

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