GLOUCESTER, Va. – It's no secret that the U.S. military's presence is felt throughout the Virginia Middle Peninsula. Active duty service members and their families live in the community. Their children attend local schools. And when many troops retire, they continue to make Gloucester, Mathews and Middlesex their homes –including military physicians now practicing with Riverside Health System and Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. Riverside is honored to recognize and celebrate them and all who have served our country and our communities.
In fact, all of military medicine is. As Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson wrote earlier this year, "military medicine's impact on civilians doesn't stop at our ability to deliver effective, high-quality trauma care anywhere, anytime. The battlefield also drives breakthroughs in medical technology and research that have far-reaching implications."
And it has been doing that for years, said Dr. Hugh Bryan of Riverside York River Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Bryan served in the Army for eight years in the 1980s. "The Vietnam War was over and the public was still recovering," Bryan said. "I worked alongside a physician who was a Vietnam veteran who was injured in the war and was still able to operate with an above the knee prosthesis, which was new back then." What's amazing, specifically in orthopedics, Bryan said, is that almost all of the major advances in the specialty have come through the military –a practice that continues today.
"Our recent innovative strategies for saving limbs are already being incorporated into civilian practices," Woodson wrote. "Additionally, our research aimed at helping service members with lost limbs has resulted in more functional prosthetics that enhance life for all amputees." The military has also figured prominently in the development of new vaccines, Woodson wrote, which have helped protect generations of people and "address new health threats that affect all of us."
Just look at Army Maj. Walter Reed, the namesake of Riverside's Middle Peninsula hospital, himself, who helped lead the nation in developing the first yellow fever vaccine.
Ask Dr. Eric Stone about his time serving in the Air Force before joining Riverside in Gloucester and he'll tell you, "Frankly I'm still serving. I'm just wearing a different uniform." Stone, Vice President of Clinical Operations for Riverside Regional Medical Center and physician at the Hayes Medical Center in Gloucester, said the sense of service is something that also carries over for veterans now serving civilian patients. Stone says he is using some of the key tenets he learned in military medicine with his civilian patients. "One of the great experiences of the military is working as a team focused in on a single mission," Stone said. "There's very much the culture of service before self. It's not all about me. It's about what do we need to do together as a team to do the mission or to get the job done, or in my aspect, to take care of the patient."
For Dr. Fred Arnold, urologist and Service Line Chief for Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, service is his passion and is in his blood. Arnold's brother and father both served for 30 years. After medical school, Arnold earned his flight surgeon certification and took care of pilots and their families. It was perhaps during that time as a flight surgeon, Arnold said, that he formed his treatment philosophy and the bedside manner he's become recognized for –a doctor who forges personal connections with his patients. It's not unusual for a military veteran to walk into Dr. Arnold's urology practice as a patient and leave knowing about Arnold's history. And not just because Arnold's bedside manner, honed over the years, carries a more personal touch. As a retired Air Force colonel, when military members become his patients, "we immediately have a connection."
Arnold moved his family to Gloucester to open a urology practice in 1985 and thought "worst case scenario, it will be like an Air Force assignment and we'll be here three years and move on." But he fell in love with the area, with the people and with an ability to serve both the Middle Peninsula community and the military. Arnold served 16 years on active duty in the Air Force and another eight in the Reserves, stationed at Langley Air Force Base. Today, Arnold serves as the Riverside Middle Peninsula region's Service Line Chief, overseeing the Riverside Medical Group physicians on the Middle Peninsula.
Thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country and our communities.
Published: November 11, 2014