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Thread: Anyone ever have major surgery at a military hospital?

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    TMOMom's Avatar
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    #1

    Anyone ever have major surgery at a military hospital?

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    Hi Everyone!

    I don't get on these pages much but I have a question. Have any of you had major surgery at a military hospital and what was your experience? Also, has anyone else been sent to another location due to health issues and how does that process work?

    My husband and I are currently stationed at Daegu Air Base, South Korea and we have been here since December of 2014. I have a congenital deformity called Pectus Excavatum (sunken chest syndrome). For the past year I have been experiencing pain from the deformity. The internal medicine specialist who treats me at the local Army medical clinic at Camp Walker referred me to a thoracic surgeon off post (there is no military thoracic surgeon in Korea) to evaluate my deformity. The Korean thoracic surgeon said that my rib cage is collapsing and that I need to have a rod implanted in my chest to keep my rib cage from sinking further.

    My Army doctor has already told me that she DOES NOT recommend having this type of surgery at a Korean hospital. I initially had the deformity repaired at a civilian hospital in Delaware eight years ago (before I met DH) and the process is very involved. I see my Army doctor next Tuesday so she can review the results of the Korean thoracic surgeon's examination. She is probably going to advise that my husband and I leave Korea early (our DEROS is December 2017) so that I can have the surgery at a military hospital. Its not a super urgent problem but I am in a great deal of pain.

    I'm REALLY nervous about having the surgery at a military hospital. My husband and I have only been married for the past 2 1/2 years and I have never had an invasive procedure done at a military facility. What should I expect with the process to send us home early? My husband has been in the Air Force for the past 16 years but doesn't know much about this stuff because he has never had dependents.

    BTW, they would have to send us home together because I literally have no one to take care of me after the surgery aside from my husband. The recovery time on this type of procedure is a couple of months. My husband also has some health issues himself that are becoming problematic for the medical capacity of the remote location we are stationed at.

    Thanks!
    TMOMom
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    #2
    I had my appendix out, patellar realignment surgery on my knee, and a hysterectomy, all at different military hospitals. Each surgery went well and I was confident in my surgeons.

    I'm not sure about the process to send you home early, but I will caution that they don't have to send your husband home to take care of you. Every situation is different, but many spouses (myself included) have had invasive surgeries and had to plan for the active duty member to possibly not be there.
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    #3
    Hubby had surgery done at a military hospital. It was great and all was good. They are doctors and professionals. They didn't just get their work handed to them from a cracker jack box. They all went to school, training, ect to do their job.

    As for the process of sending you home, you'll have to submit the paperwork to curtail your DEROS. They will review it and decide. Another thing that could happen is they send you on to the military hospital and he stays behind to finish out his commitment there. Not sure.
    "Obstinacy is a fault of temperament. Stubbornness and Intolerance of contradiction result from a special kind of Egotism, which elevates above everything else the pleasure of its own autonomous intellect, to which others must bow.: Carl von Clausewitz
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    #4
    It really is pretty much like any other hospital. I wouldn't worry about the military medicine aspect of it at all.

    If there is truly no one else to care for you, they can submit paperwork to try to end his orders early. It may nor may not go through. I don't actually know anyone who has been allowed to have that kind of thing, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

    But if there is anyone else you can think of who might help you, it might be time to look in to that. There's a possibility the military would look at sending you to be near a family member so you had help. You really can't count on them releasing him from his obligation for this. I know that sucks, and hopefully it will work out for you guys, but he's paid to do his job, and his job is to be in Korea right now.

    He'll want to be very carefully about pushing this too far, for both your medical issues and his. They could medically discharge/retire him if it came to that. If he has problematic health issues that mean he can't stay in Korea, they would likely also mean he isn't deployable, and that can be the perfect situation for a medical discharge. If he gets a medical retirement, he'd still get his pension, though I'm not sure how it is calculated when it is less than 20 years but due to disability. Anyway, I am just pointing this out as something to keep in mind. Generally if a service member is sick enough that they are too sick for a remote location, that's the kind of thing the military is going to look very closely at.
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    #5
    Good chance that you'd still be referred off base wherever you go. Not many bases that have surgeons that can do the major stuff. I know my friend had to have heart surgery and the sent him all the way to Texas (we're in Alaska).

    We've seen lots of compassionate reassignments for various medical reasons. We've also seen military members sent back stateside for treatment and then able to go back overseas later on after the issue is taken care. Really just depends on if the ailments are fixable.
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    #6
    DH has had 2 surgeries (deviated septum and bone spurs) done at Nellis. Those went really really well & we went home at the end of the day.
    "You will never completely be at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place."

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    #7
    Df had two separate hernia surgerys at the William Beaumont Army medical Center. I was only there for one. It was honestly like any other hospital. Good luck to you!
    "She knew she loved him when 'home' went from being a place to being a person."
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    It really is pretty much like any other hospital. I wouldn't worry about the military medicine aspect of it at all.

    If there is truly no one else to care for you, they can submit paperwork to try to end his orders early. It may nor may not go through. I don't actually know anyone who has been allowed to have that kind of thing, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

    But if there is anyone else you can think of who might help you, it might be time to look in to that. There's a possibility the military would look at sending you to be near a family member so you had help. You really can't count on them releasing him from his obligation for this. I know that sucks, and hopefully it will work out for you guys, but he's paid to do his job, and his job is to be in Korea right now.

    He'll want to be very carefully about pushing this too far, for both your medical issues and his. They could medically discharge/retire him if it came to that. If he has problematic health issues that mean he can't stay in Korea, they would likely also mean he isn't deployable, and that can be the perfect situation for a medical discharge. If he gets a medical retirement, he'd still get his pension, though I'm not sure how it is calculated when it is less than 20 years but due to disability. Anyway, I am just pointing this out as something to keep in mind. Generally if a service member is sick enough that they are too sick for a remote location, that's the kind of thing the military is going to look very closely at.
    Ugh, that is a pita to deal with. This is DH's situation from when he got out. I do know that if you get out before the 20 years you can not collect full retirement and full VA disability.

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