|What do the Army mule and Army Physician have in common from the 1880’s? Before you answer, that we can all be jackasses given enough opportunity, we will review the facts. The Army Physician had some qualities that we may all experience in the workplace. We may feel ill equipped, ill educated, and a product of a system that won’t listen to us.
The physician of 1880 was not revered. Most patients tried to stay as far from the Doctor as possible. One surgeon used to implant goat testicles in his male patients to increase their virility and strength. He had a lot of patients—not exactly satisfied. Being a medical quack was a real problem. In 1877, the Army established an entrance exam to screen those applying for the physician position. I’ve looked at some of the questions. They weren’t that hard. Only 21 of 185 would pass the test. When the Indian wars started, the Army had to relax their standards. Some were made contract physicians. We just wont give you a uniform.
They were overwhelmed in their job. With poor pay and even worse working conditions, recruits had a lot of medical problems. Late stage syphilis, epilepsy, boney involvement by tuberculosis, and alcoholism were not uncommon. They couldn’t cure those in 1880 and indeed much of the 20’Th century. They did the best they could.
Great work environment, the job listing often says. Consider the army physician. A “well suited hospital” could mean two tents covered by brush. The men had scurvy due to poor nutrition. The physicians by need became in charge of the garden. They harvest edible plants from around the fort. The common lament today is I didn’t sign up for this
The work environment is very important in our world today. Alternating g with that is,” my boss doesn’t understand me.” Physicians were in charge of men’s living conditions, but could be overruled by the base commander. “I outrank you.” Sound familiar?
Mules have long odes and elegies written to them about their faithful service while in service to the military. It is said that the mule was the backbone of the Army. The faithful plodding steps of the mule made a difference. What is written about the base physician? Not a thing. They did make a difference. Base statistics, kept regularly by the Army suggest a death rate of about 1 every 4 years at many bases. They may not write a song to the exploits of the base physician or us, the plodding steps to just get our job done may be enough to move history.
© Copyright 2011 Michaelmountain: new frontiers (UN: frontierman at Writing.Com).
All rights reserved.
Michaelmountain: new frontiers has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
|Log In To Leave Feedback|