Thursday, October 21, 2004

The GruntDoc has a post about the plans for a medical draft. I agree with the GruntDoc here, as does Dr. Smith, and Doc Russia (who posits that "the whole thing is fearmongering by the left to try to woo back voters that normally vote democrat, but are appalled by the choice of a trial lawyer as a Vice President"). If there wasn't a plan somewhere for such a thing, and it was not updated from time to time, the powers that be would be grossly negligent. Just because the plan exists, doesn't mean that it will be implemented.
Mr Cuprisin, however, disagrees:
The Selective Service and the current administration deny, of course, that any such plan will ever be implemented, but contingency plans are not made for non-existent contingencies. The daily reports of the Army's personnel shortages and the "back-door draft" (the stop-loss policies) already implemented by the Bush administration suggest that some form of draft is a real possibility, regardless of what this President says. (Bush's willingness to mislead the American people is no longer in doubt.)

And from Graham:
I would imagine a significant number of health care professionals-<>doctors, nurses, etc.-would fundamentally be opposed to being sent to war on ethical grounds: that whole concept of “killing people” and “causing harm” don’t really go too well with the Hippocratic Oath.
Graham doesn't have much of an idea of what medical professionals do in the armed services. The physicians in Iraq treat U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians during all phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From the September issue of The Journal of Trauma:A U.S. Army Forward Surgical Team's experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom(emphasis mine):
BACKGROUND: The Forward Army Surgical Team (FST) was designed to provide surgical capability far forward on the battlefield to stabilize and resuscitate those soldiers with life and limb threatening injuries. Operation Iraqi Freedom represents the largest military operation in which the FST concept of health care delivery has been employed. The purpose of our review is to describe the experience of the 555FST during the assault phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. METHODS: During the 23 days beginning 21 March 2003, data on all patients seen by the 555 FST were recorded. These data included combatant status, injuries according to anatomic location, and operative procedures performed. RESULTS: During the twenty-three day period, the 555 FST evaluated 154 patients. There were 52 EPWs, 79 U.S. soldiers, and 23 Iraqi civilians treated. Injuries to the lower extremity and chest (48% and 25%) were the most common in the EPW group. Upper extremity and lower extremity injuries were the most common in the civilian (57% and 39%) and U.S. soldier groups (32% and 30%). The number of injured regions per patient were 1.14 for U.S. soldiers, 1.33 for EPWs, and 1.52 for Iraqi civilians (p <>Majority of the life threatening injuries evaluated involved EPWs. A combination of body armor and armored vehicles used by U.S. soldiers limited the number of torso injuries presenting to the FST. Early resuscitation and stabilization of U.S. soldiers, EPWs, and civilians can be successfully accomplished at the front lines by FSTs. Further modification of the FST's equipment will be needed to improve its ability in providing far forward surgical care.
So these dedicated medical professionals aren't kicking the Iraqis to the curb, "killing" them, or "causing them harm". Graham then takes a "don't trust anybody over thirty" tack:
Update: Medpundit and Gruntdoc both say it’s all over-reaction. I’m sure it’s easy much easier to downplay the concerns of young polyglots, computer network engineers, and medical students when you’re over 35, and not at risk of being drafted.
To the Times article:
Under the plan, Mr. Flahavan said, about 3.4 million male and female health care workers ages 18 to 44 would be expected to register with the Selective Service. From this pool, he said, the agency could select tens of thousands of health care professionals practicing in 62 health care specialties.
While I can't speak for GruntDoc, or Dr. Smith, I certainly fall within that age range. And given my specialty of general surgery with heavy involvement in trauma and vascular surgery, if such a "medical draft" were to be enacted I'm sure my name would be close to the top of any induction lists out there. I'm not worried, I have patients in the here and now to worry about.
Cross-posted at Galen's log
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