Maybe Bill Frist Can Diagnose A Few Soldiers Via Video

From Holden:

Lacking an abundance of qualified military doctors and overwhelmed by soldiers with brain and spinal injuries sustained in Iraq, an Army hospital in Germany turns to civilian neurosurgeons for help.

Faced with a shortage of neurosurgeons, the U.S. military’s largest overseas hospital is becoming increasingly dependent on civilian doctors volunteering their time to treat troops who suffered severe brain and spinal injuries in Iraq.

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, an Army-run hospital in southwestern Germany, began recruiting civilian neurosurgeons from the United States late last year after a rotation of active-duty physicians became stretched so thin that the hospital was left without coverage at times.

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About 200 troops who had served in Iraq were admitted to Landstuhl’s intensive care unit last year with severe brain or spinal injuries requiring neurosurgery, hospital officials said. While the vast majority were seen by U.S. military doctors, a handful had to be transferred to neighboring German hospitals for treatment.

The problem became acute in December after a suicide bombing at a mess hall at a U.S. military base in Mosul, Iraq. At the time, no neurosurgeon was assigned to Landstuhl because of a staffing shortage during the holiday season, forcing the Army to rush a doctor to Germany from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, hospital officials said.

Since then, Landstuhl has relied heavily on a half-dozen civilian neurosurgeons from the United States who have volunteered to fill rotations lasting one or two weeks. The military also continues to assign active-duty neurosurgeons to Landstuhl for temporary stints, but the hospital has needed the civilians to fill the gaps.