U.S. Army Military Medicine provides some of the best trauma care in the world. Wounded soldiers get immediate trauma care by well trained combat field medics in the battle field. They are transferred, usually by helicopter, to a Combat Support Hospital for surgical care and stabilization by one of the best medical and surgical teams.
When stable enough to move, soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are Air Evacuated to Ramstein Air Force base in Germany. They are stabilized nearby at Landstuhl US Army Hospital before coming home to the U.S. Or they are treated and go back to the battle field.
I am retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve after 25 years of service. I have never been on the battle field in Iraq or Afghanistan. When I was mobilized and deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005, I was stationed at Landstuhl US Army Hospital in Germany.
As an Internist, I took care of active duty soldiers, civilian contractors, dependents, and evacuated soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan for medical related problems. Most of the trauma cases go directly to a Surgical Intensive Care Unit under the care of trauma surgeons.
Internal Medicine and Family Practice take care of most of the medical related problems. The U.S. Army has a two week medical evacuation policy. If the soldier cannot be medically evaluated and recover within two weeks estimated time, the soldier will be returned to an Army Hospital in the U.S. If they can recover in two weeks, they may return to duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.
When I get called up for active duty, I take my small portable instrument for Acupuncture Meridian Assessment, also called EAV (Electro-Acupuncture according to Voll). I test patients with complicated symptoms and puzzling complaints. (See my we site at www.preventionandhealing.com for more details.)
My first patient was a 22 year old Army Corporal from Missouri with undiagnosed abdominal pain for 3 weeks. Extensive medical evaluation was done including CT scan at the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. He was then evacuated to Landstuhl U.S. Army Hospital for further evaluation.
My EAV testing indicated he had parasite infestations which were causing a disturbance in the large intestine meridian. This was the cause for his undiagnosed abdominal pain. This young soldier could not believe he could have parasites.
He kept returning to the clinic to ask me repeatedly, in disbelief, if this is true. I ordered him to take parasite medications and gave him the instructions on how to take them. (The Army pharmacy has a very limited selection of parasite medications in the formulary.) The soldier didn’t return for follow up. I assume he returned to duty in Iraq.
Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to give lectures on Alternative Medicine for the U.S. Military hospital. There were immediate referrals to me for the most difficult cases in Europe.
One of my last patients during my deployment was a 49 year old Colonel in the U.S. Army. He was a Military Intelligence officer and a Ranger that served with Special Forces. Colonel H. had a complicated medical and trauma history.
He was shot down twice in special operations. Parachute jumps caused multiple breaks in his spine. He was exposed to depleted uranium and suffered for many years from severe chronic pain, insomnia and hypertension. It was amazing to see a man go through multiple physical traumas and still be alive and functioning at his level.
His first request to me was to keep him alive so he can see his ten year old daughter get married. He knew there was something very wrong with him. Most physicians didn’t have a full grasp of what was going on in his body.
My Acupuncture Meridian Assessment indicated he had two main problems: parasites and hidden dental infection. I gave him parasite medications. I told him if there was a 50% improvement that he should consider that as success. My tour of duty was ending so I was returning to the U.S. and my private practice.
A few months later he tracked me down. He emailed me how his pain got better, he slept better and his blood pressure was responding. Several hypertensive medications that he had previously tried hadn’t been able to control his blood pressure.
However, his pain and blood pressure were coming back gradually after completion of the parasite medications. He was desperately looking to continue the parasite medications toward a complete recovery.
I asked Colonel H. to write a list of the improvements in his symptoms after using the parasite medications. I used his testimonial to try to convince four Army medical officers in Germany to give him the same parasite medications but without success. Nobody has experience using parasite medications. The doctors were afraid to prescribe the medications, especially without proof of parasites by stool analysis.
To make a long story short, he had great difficulty in obtaining the medications. It shouldn’t be this difficult to properly treat our soldiers. Many soldiers are getting less than optimum proper medical treatment.
I am very proud to be a U.S. Army Reserve Medical Officer. I’m also very proud of our capability to treat wounded soldiers with the most advanced trauma care by dedicated surgical teams. However, our ability to diagnose and treat complex medical problems is far from ideal. This is obvious from Colonel H.’s story.
I am retired from the U.S. Army Reserve after 25 years of service. I wonder how I could make any impact on the future medical care of our soldiers. Teaching young medical officers Alternative Medicine might be the answer but I’m not sure the U.S. Army is ready for it. At least, not yet. Saving Special Forces Colonel H. was worth it for me to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Colonel Simon Yu, MC, U.S. Army Reserve, Retired