America’s medical system has always served its people in uniform

He was born in 1851 in a small cabin in rural Virginia.

A natural talent for medicine from an early age, he attended medical school at the University of Virginia and completed the then two-year course in one year, becoming the youngest student to graduate from the university’s medical school at age 17. rice field. school. I still have that record.

At the age of 23, the Army beckoned him with the promise of an opportunity to serve his country then (and still is), to travel and live a purposeful life of service to others. In 1875 he was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps as a Lieutenant Surgeon and decided to don his country’s military uniform, turning his medical career into the study of bacteria and infectious diseases.

It was a world-changing move. Over the years, when typhoid and yellow fever were ravaging military personnel, his brilliance, insight, and diligent research into the causes and prevalence of typhoid and yellow fever have greatly reduced these diseases.

Among other achievements, the young doctor demonstrated that mosquitoes are responsible for yellow fever and malaria transmission. He proved to skeptics that typhoid fever is spread primarily not through toxic air, but through poor sanitation and impure drinking water.

His discoveries have led to new ways of doing things, and over the decades have saved countless lives around the world, both in and out of uniform. This soldier was trained in the arts of war to protect our country and may have ultimately saved more lives than any doctor in our history.

Today, his eponymous legacy, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is the flagship of U.S. military medicine, providing care and services to more than one million people each year.

Our profession as healers and caregivers has always been supported by military personnel, some of whom, like Dr. Reed, have done life-changing work from within the ranks.

On this Memorial Day, as we celebrate lives saved, it is more important than ever to remember and honor the brave and heroic soldiers who gave their lives for our country and its symbols.

Their ultimate sacrifice protected our freedom and helped protect our future. Our celebration of their lives ensures that their loss is not forgotten and that their spirit and patriotism live on in the hearts of their families, communities and nation.

We at the American Hospital Association, all members, and those who work in hospitals and health care systems across the country pay tribute to those who have died. We work in the medical field to save lives, but we understand firsthand the loss, especially the loss of young lives inflicted in service.

For many people, this weekend is a time of rest and relaxation with family and friends. But take a moment to also consider the dedication of the people Memorial Day honors and the value and cost of our freedom.

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