I never had a civilian doctor until I married in 1970. I never had a family doctor who treated my childhood illnesses. I had shot records my mother kept safe and available, proof that I had up-to-date inoculations. All medical records were carried from post to post, base to base. SOP
I have no memories of civilian hospitals during my childhood. Although I was born in Patterson Army Hospital, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, I have no memory of the building although I was certainly there a number of times. When I was born, I had a heart murmur.
Socialized medicine and Dr. Spock saved my life when I was three months old. Mother read his book entitled Baby & Child Care first published in 1946. She became concerned after feces found in my dirty diaper looked like current jelly. I had been very fussy, continually drawing my legs up to my belly, screaming in pain. She took me back to Patterson Army Hospital where Major Cory diagnosed me. I was suffering from intussusception. One portion of my bowel was slowly sliding into the next like pieces of a telescope. My bowels and I were in danger of dying.
Surgery was immediately scheduled with Capt. Cory, and I lived to tell the tale.
Dr. Cory was a high-caliber surgeon completing his military enlistment. My parents could never have afforded his service in civilian life, and I would have died.
Mother later told me the operation made it into the medical books. I became famous at three-months old.
When I was older, I was never admitted to any hospitals—military or otherwise. There were annual check ups by military doctors, and that was all. After my shaky beginnings, I grew to be a healthy individual who loved competitive swimming.
The first time I was in a civilian hospital was in 1965. The sister of my best friend, Janis Wynn, gave birth to a baby boy at St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs. Two years later, I volunteered at the same facility as a Candy Striper.
It wasn’t until I was married in 1970 that I learned about civilian medical care.
Number 1: It was very important to have medical insurance.
Luckily we were insured through the City of Tucson. We could choose our own doctors, but I didn’t know how. Doctors were chosen by the Army, not the patients in the world in which I grew up.
Dr. Macbeth was my first civilian doctor. He had a family practice in Tucson. Things initially went well until he decided to join with other doctors to found an HMO—Pima Care. Suddenly the freedom of choice touted by civilian patients became moot. We could only go to doctors within the system.
HMO networks slowly took over the medical field in the United States. Many were for profit and death panels formed.
As a person who benefited from socialized medicine offered by the military, I cannot understand why any civilian would reject a program that benefits individuals rather than one designed for profits.
With HMO networks, a sick person is designated as a debit or asset. Under socialized medicine, there is no argument. The patient is a person. Period.