Perspective: Medicine In Service

While in my residency, I decided to serve in the military; I saw it as an opportunity to give back. I am now Commander of the 129th Medical Group (Non-Deployable Position) with the 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard. We are located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and our mission is to train and prepare to perform our wartime mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. The unit also works closely with the Coast Guard and various civil agencies on state missions. We have members who have deployed around the globe, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The medical group has access to technology that is similar to that in civilian medicine, but the US Airforce Medial Corp as a whole operates the ability to establish a small hospital (EMEDS) that can be assembled in less than 24 hours. The EMEDS has the capacity to treat many battlefield injuries, offering wound care, outpatient care, operative theater, in-patient facilities, radiology, and dental services.

We see all types of cases and triage them for AirVac as necessary, but our primary goal is to get as many of our patients returned to the battlefield as soon as possible, or moved up the echelon of care. In fact, a major difference I see between my military and civilian patients is related to exercise and health standards maintained by military discipline. My military patients are an athletic population, and our medical mission is to provide maintenance and preventive medicine so that they can continue to engage in the battlefield.

Dr. Pitt

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