Perceived Effects of Physicians Deployment in The American Army
Additionally, much of this deployed work comprises of emergency surgery and trauma and not necessarily the primary subspecialty of the physician or surgeon when not under deployment. It is estimated that most physicians perform over 50% of their cases through methods that are minimally invasive. In most settings, deployed medical practitioners do not use minimally invasive methods in managing patients due to a shortage of equipment and instruments, lack of appropriate facilities, and the combat environment's inherent limitations (primarily the trauma mission while under deployment). Thus, the unavailability of case mix and equipment in most of these settings makes it hard for physicians to keep up their medical skills. An analysis of physician deployment in the U. These researchers discovered that operational deployments delayed board certification significantly more for surgeon physicians than their non-surgeon counterparts.
For most of the general surgeons, their deployed practice correlated with their usual practice. However, for the non-surgeons, their deployed practice did not match their routine clinical practice. Nonetheless, the trauma management skills of all physicians improved significantly after deployment but their post-deployment clinical skills showed substantial declinations. After deployment, most physicians took around six months before regaining their clinical skills to their former baseline. The researchers also assessed full procedural skills on basic operations and no differences were found in respect of salpingostomy/bilateral tubal litigation for ectopic pregnancy Obstetrics and Gynecology physicians and cholecystectomy for the general surgeon. Interestingly, the surgeons reported having feelings of lack of preparedness for basic laparoscopic procedures after deployment. Nonetheless, the researchers acknowledge the fact that deployed physicians practice in medical areas that are completely different from what they did before deployment.
Further, there is variance in the length of the deployments and some can even take physicians away from their clinical practice for over 18 months when both pre- and post-deployment requirements are considered (Deering et al. The providers may be deployed several times. The balance between offering state-of-the-art medical care and acknowledging the reality of transportation and logistical support capabilities heavily weighs on all personnel involved in making such decisions. Further, deployment might impact the medical capabilities of the army physicians. The medical practitioners are likely to suffer psychological effects following a failure in saving the lives of wounded soldiers. Such agonizing experiences lead to physicians’ burnout (Walters, Matthews, & Dailey, 2014). The military medical practitioners could suffer even greater psychological effects from the increased pressure to offer flawless care in extremely hostile environments.
Specifically, a significant number of deployed medical personnel might return home from active duty with severe PTSD symptoms. The agony and pain of being unable to save the lives of wounded soldiers might weight heavily on the physicians’ soldiers and this might adversely affect their emotional well-being. A vast body of research has indicated an association between direct exposure to gory combat situations and PTSD symptoms. In a readjustment study conducted by the National Vietnam Veterans in the 1990s, the prevalence of PTSD was found to be 30. 9% among the male theater veterans, and 26. For surgeon physicians, the Army Surgeon General has set up a policy that requires all hospital medical directors along with department chiefs to assess the medical personnel returning home from deployment on the basis of overall patient and surgical experience, deployed experience, length of the deployment, as well as past performance (Deering et al.
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