Military Care: It isn’t Always Bad

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There has been a lot of talk about how military care in hospitals is beyond terrible, I personally believe that this isn’t just a military problem, but also a civilian one. Military hospitals are far and few while civilian ones are more common. That being said, the military hospitals always get singled out, and because of this, I want to share my personal experiences. I want to show that going to a military hospital for care isn’t necessarily going to be a bad experience. Unfortunately, some people have had bad experiences, but some, like myself, haven’t.  

I never had an issue during my care at any military hospitals. The pharmacy typically ran extra slow, but other than that I received exceptional care, better care than I had received with any civilian doctor. Having lived on four different continents, I have had my share of doctors. The majority seemed like they didn’t really care to help me. I always felt so disappointed with the care, which led me to think that would be the last time I’d go to the doctor for anything.  

When my husband and I got married, we moved to Twentynine Palms, and I was amazed at how well the doctors worked. Things got done right then and there and the doctors were more than willing to explain things to me. The only waiting I had to do was for the pharmacy (like mentioned above) and that was an hour! I made several visits to the hospital for routine check-ups and some minor issues and I always received outstanding care. When we PCS’d to San Diego, it was the same great care. I was still waiting to be part of one of those bad stories I’d heard everyone talking about. The kind of stories that made people vow to never go to a military hospital, but I gave both parties the benefit of the doubt, because, to be truthful, I wasn’t there to see what had happened. And more than likely, bad experiences are always the ones that are most known of.

After leaving San Diego, my family and I moved to Southern Louisiana, away from any military bases and away from any military hospitals – I had to rely on civilian care. Recently, I had to visit an Urgent Care facility due to a pain in my lower back. The doctor at Urgent Care diagnosed it as kidney stones, gave me some painkillers and sent me home with instructions to call a urologist.

The next morning I made a urology appointment for that same day. I waited in the waiting room for an hour and a half because the doctor was delayed. I waited in the doctor’s office for another 20 minutes, the doctor came in, acting very cold, and informed me that because Urgent Care doesn’t do ultrasounds, I would need to get one done. I thought to myself, “Why wasn’t I instructed to do this while I waited almost two hours to see you?!” But I didn’t, foolish me. I got the ultrasound and the doctor didn’t find anything. He then told me to get an x-ray and that he would email me the results. I followed his instruction and waited until 9 pm for the doctor to finally e-mail me the results. Here’s the crazy part; he didn’t tell me what was wrong, he just sent me the official results in doctor-language and didn’t elaborate. I responded to him, but I did not get a response for four days! To say I was angry was an understatement. I ended up seeing a different doctor who was the total opposite of the first doctor I saw. He explained to me the results and was extremely helpful.  

As you can see, my care at a civilian hospital ended well but started horribly. However, my military care has always been excellent. Don’t get me wrong, I know people have had beyond terrible experiences at military hospitals, but I wanted to shed the “lighter” side of how military hospitals aren’t that bad. It truly is a different experience for all.

If you could give advice to any new military spouse about military care, what would it be? Would you tell them to avoid it or give it a chance?


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