Former Military Medical Personnel Call for Change

The Physicians Committee
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Improving Military Medicine


Former Military Medical Personnel Call for Change

A Purple Heart recipient who risked his life to save fallen Marines is speaking out against the military’s use of animals in trauma training—and so are many other former military physicians, medics, and nurses. So is a West Point graduate and 20-year veteran of the Army who currently practices neurosurgery and personally experienced a goat-based trauma training lab.

Veterans of the current wars are also speaking out. In 2008, Brandon Friedman, a former Army infantry officer in Afghanistan and Iraq, wrote about the Army’s plan to use pigs in combat trauma training exercises:

I don't think it's necessary, and I think it will end up doing more harm than good—especially from the standpoint of soldier psychology. These are counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan—not force-on-force pitched battles. You make your money in these places with cultural awareness, conscience, empathy, a little more sensitivity than would've been necessary in World War Two, and the ability to kill mercilessly when your life is threatened. But we don't need desensitized, unfeeling killing machines. And when you do stuff like this, that's what you're developing.

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In addition, on Nov. 11, 2011–Veterans’ Day–these former and retired military medical personnel signed a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, urging them to take action to pass H.R. 1417, the BEST Practices Act, a bill that would requirere the Department of Defense to expeditiously phase-in the use of medical simulation as a replacement for live animal use. Read their letter here.

William J. Morris, M.D.
LTC, USA (Ret.)
Tacoma, Wash.

Ronald S. Banner, M.D.
Former U.S. Army Physician
Philadelphia, Pa.

Frank Scarpa, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Former Medical Corps, USA
Greenwich, Conn.

Jonathan Vordermark, M.D.
COL, Medical Corps, USA (Ret.)
Lubbock, Texas

Wendy Bernstein, M.D.
COL, Medical Corps, USA (Ret.)
Rockville, Md.

Matt Freeman
Former Hospital Corpsman, USN
Fairfax, Va.

Maureen Hackett, M.D.
MAJ, Medical Service, USAF (Ret.)
Minnetonka, Minn.

James A. Santos, D.D.S, M.D.
LCDR Medical Corps, USNR (Ret.)
Albuquerque, N.M.

Drew A. Brodsky, M.D.
Former MAJ, Medical Corps, USA
Osterville, Mass.

Marion Balsam, M.D.
RADM, Medical Corps, USN (Ret.)
Bethesda, Md.

Douglas Bell, M.D.
CPT, Medical Corps, USA (Ret.)
Honolulu, Hawaii

Karen Barry
Former PFC, Medical Corps, USA
Savannah, Ga.

Ralph Charles Fenwick
Former Combat Corpsman, USN
Former Medic, USAF
Director, Medical Corps
Lowell, Ohio

Daniel J. Sanchez, Sr., L.P.N.
Former CPL, USA
Crossville, Tenn.

Ronald Burmeister, M.D.
LCDR, Medical Corps, USN (Ret.)
Rockford, Ill.

Marion Pandiscio, M.D.
Former Maj, Medical Service, USAF
Bradenton, Fla.

Kimberly J. Stone, M.D.
LCDR, Medical Corps, USN (Ret.)
Chesapeake, Va.

James S. Mulcare
HM3, Corpsman, USN
Clarkston, Wash.

Gordon Walbroehl, M.D.
COL, Medical Service, USAFR (Ret.)
Beavercreek, Ohio