MTF versus Civilian Care: My Anxities Over Sequestration

thermometer-106380_640The first appointment I had with my OB last July lasted about 30 minutes: 10 minutes discussing the pregnancy (5 months at the time) and 20 talking about Camp Lejeune and Jacksonville, NC. Turns out that my OB served a few years at the Naval Hospital there. Though he does not miss Jacksonville at all, he still takes his family to the Outer Banks for vacations.

That was the only appointment where we discussed his time in the military, which was perfectly fine with me. He is a very attentive doctor and that was all that mattered to me.

Fast forward to November when he had to tell me that my first born died in my womb. During my day and a half stay at the hospital, my OB and the nursing staff who stayed with me were just fabulous. They did everything within their power to make sure we were as comfortable as we could be and had everything we needed considering the situation. I don’t think I have felt that safe and trusted a hospital that much before.

Over time, we have gone in for follow up appointments with my OB where he has told us that he has discussed our case at a couple conferences and conventions that he has attended with other specialists. Nothing is more comforting than knowing that your provider still thinks about you months later and is still trying to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it again – not just for us but for others.

This heartwarming experience got me thinking; we are in the civilian world on recruiting duty. Would I have the same level of care if I were at a military base? Would I still have the same level of respect and appreciation for my OB if I met him at a naval hospital?

Let’s get one thing straight, this is not a ‘bash the MTFs’ article. We’ve all heard or experienced the unbearably long waits at a military ER and other horror stories – I don’t want to hear them.

MTFs are just very busy facilities. Providing care for a large majority of the military family population at an installation is a huge job.

While a majority of the physicians are civilian and tend to stay for long periods of time, there are a good number of physicians who are military and frequently move. I remember my PCM changed 4 times in one year at Lejeune! I can only imagine being pregnant and having to explain to 4 different OBs my history and what course of action the OB before was following. Headache for sure!

Add onto the situation with the recent budget cuts due to sequestration and I just get scared. The bases are doing the best they can to not have patient care be affected by the cuts, but when research funding is cut and staffing is furloughed, I can’t help but be nervous.

To be honest, going through a pregnancy at any other treatment facility other than where I am now just gives me anxiety. With our current duty assignment coming to an end and my desire to have another child continuing to grow, somehow I am going to have to be open minded and learn to trust the expertise of other physicians.


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