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"SOON TO BE GONE"

By Capt. Steven Ellison, MD
A MILITARY DOCTOR


This should be required reading in every school and college in our
country. This Captain, an Army doctor, deserves a medal himself for
putting this together. If you choose not to pass it on, fine, but I
think you will want to, after you read it.


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I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency

Departments
of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers,
both in San Antonio , TX and
they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest
military retiree population in the world living here. As a military
doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends
to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact
and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The
arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work.
Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.


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Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or
stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a
nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat
experience in Panama , I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance
brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local
retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped
to think of what citizens of this age group represented.



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I saw 'Saving Private Ryan'.

I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the
sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly
survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I
realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my
Emergency Dept. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they
had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived
on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.


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Situation permitting, I now try to
ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the
subject without the inquiry. I have been privileged to an amazing array
of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency
Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible
individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many
on their last admission to the hospital.



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There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted
medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and
poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her
fragile veins. She was what we call a 'hard stick.' As the medic made
another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I
touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, '
Auschwitz '. Many of later generations would have loudly and openly
berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the
response from this person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.



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Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer
had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by
the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a
fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed
until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance
patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a
taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him
without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long
distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride
we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and
the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for
it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for
several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.



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I was there the night M/Sgt Roy
Benavidez
came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time.
He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I
walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so
sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation
and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.



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The gentleman who served with Merrill's

Marauders
,



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The survivor of the Bataan Death
March
,



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The survivor of Omaha Beach .



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The 101 year old World War I veteran.


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The former POW held in frozen
North Korea
.



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The former Special Forces
medic - now with non-operable liver cancer.


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The former Viet Nam Corps Commander.



I remember these citizens and


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still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much
more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and
women.



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I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these
individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see
later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these
same liberties, won with such sacrifice.




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It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young
enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them
in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has
made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.



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My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an
incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our
uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take
note.

We should all remember that we must 'Earn this'.




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written By CAPT. Stephen R. Ellison, M.D. US
Army.

If it weren't for the United States Military,
there'd be NO United States of America !

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

______________________________________

"God" Bless America !

kd

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