Soon to be gone ----This is special - be sure to open!
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.
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.
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
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.
Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences.
They would never bring up the subject without my inquiry. I have been
privileged to hear 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.
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
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
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.
The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders,
the survivor of the Bataan Death March,
the survivor of Omaha Beach ,
the 101 year old World War I veteran.
The former POW held in frozen North Korea
The former Special Forces medic - now with non-operable liver cancer
the former Viet Nam Corps Commander..
I may 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.
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
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.
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.'
If it weren't for the United States Military, there'd be 'NO' United States
of America !
Steven Ellison, MD
A MILITARY DOCTOR
And now as you have finished reading this, our Congress that enjoys their
free medical care are in the process of charging these people for their
medical care and at the same time possibly reducing their retirement pay. A
typical political "Thank you." 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.