US government should do much more to help veterans
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 23:09
As a grateful country, we are not doing nearly enough for our veterans. They are coming home after putting their lives on the line daily and now they are unemployed, uncertified and overlooked. The need for programs that can speed along the certification process in the areas that they have already been working on is critical. We have experienced men and women who just want to continue their careers once back to citizen life.
John Smith joins the Marines. He trains ceaselessly in combat and in medical care. A Navy corpsman. The time for war comes and he’s in the first wave patching up scratches, taking out bullets, sewing up injuries, setting up tourniquets, and starting cricoidotomy–where the airway is opened up for assisted breathing through the cricoid cartilage. He watches friends survive explosions and saves their lives through the use of intraosseous infusion (IO)–such as the F.A.S.T. 1, which is used in the case of burned bodies where an intravenous therapy cannot be performed so it is injected into the marrow of the bone at the sternum–and other life-saving procedures. This is all with bullets whizzing by, bombs going off and death looming over while he tries to decide the safest area to perform his job. Of course safety is relative.
He’s had 20 years of active duty with regular deployments all over the world, in places common citizens know, as well as some top secret locations. All of this time, he is being trained to react every time someone yells, “Doc!” He sees things that change him forever. Things others couldn’t begin to understand.
He survives. He defends his country and saves the lives of countless families back home. It is because of him that some families are fortunate enough to have their loved ones return home. Yet now, our country tells him that he lacks the credentials to practice medicine. He is apparently unable to continue saving lives as he has been doing all his life.
Currently when a corpsman retires, he needs to undergo full prerequisite schooling before applying for medical or PA school. We are forced to accept that with twenty years of hands-on experience, he is at the same knowledge level as an undergrad whose only experience in the world of medical care was a broken arm back in high school and an afternoon spent in the ER getting a cast. Our corpsman can’t even set a cast anymore even though he worked at the clinic on the base before retirement doing exactly that for the new recruits.
Hospital corps school trains corpsmen in trauma as well as basic anatomy/physiology, pharmacology, RN responsibilities and such. They then deal with all the most traumatic cases under the direction of their battalion doctor working relatively similarly to ER doctors.
How is it then fair that after all this they can only receive certification as a medical assistant based on their experience? Instead they have to go back to school to take English literature, history, biology and nonsense general education courses that will have nothing to do with the career they have already been performing.
Our veterans deserve more than they are being given upon return and retirement. They should be provided with more aid to accomplish their goals. Our government ought to fund a program that will cover the true essentials necessary for certifications as doctors and PA’s. A new curriculum can be developed so the information that is deemed a critical addition to their current knowledge can be taught. We should, for example, provide a more well-rounded knowledge of pharmacology and the permission to perform endotracheal intubation and other ER related surgeries. This doesn’t only apply to our Navy corpsmen though. These corpsmen already hold so much knowledge that putting them down as less than an EMT is downright insulting to their heroic life’s work. This is an issue that is being overlooked of many specialties within the military. The engineering, medical, dentistry, veterinary, and others have their own hardships to endure when looking for a similar job position once out of the military.
Regardless of the personal stance we have about what our government decides to send our brave men and women into, the fact remains that they deserve more upon return based on what they do for us. As a country, we are simply being insolent towards our veterans whom we owe so much.