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Understanding Why Army Hospital Sees Non-Military Patients

Sometimes in our newscasts, we tell you about civilians taken to William Beaumont Army Medical Center.

And one viewer emailed us to ask why that happens.

The military spouse wrote: “I was just wondering why I always hear on the news about civilians going to William Beaumont Army Medical Center…It is just frustrating going to the ER and having to sit there for 4 to 5 hours to be seen, then to find out that the doctors are taking care of civilians.”

Col. Bruce Adams, M.D., WBAMC’s chief medical officer, told us the hospital treats anyone who arrives needing help.

“It is our ethical responsibility,” he said.

“It is also our citizen responsibility to take care of them.”

And Col. Adams said treating civilians can actually help the military prepare themselves for combat.

“We’re training doctors and nurses and medics every day on how to take care of trauma ultimately on the battlefield. Because that’s really why we’re here,” he said.

Col. Adams understands our viewer’s frustration.

“It’s tough to sit there with a sick child,” he said. “No one wants to wait, and we don’t want them to wait.”

That’s why inside WBAMC, there’s now an urgent care center where emergency room patients who don’t have life-threatening conditions go.

It frees up ER doctors and expedites the process for non-life-threatening cases.

“I would not say our civilian emergencies are too much disruption to our flow. They impact it, but frankly when we have a life threatening emergency and it can save the life of a citizen, whether it be somebody in the military or someone who’s just visiting el paso, it’s our job to step up there and save their lives” he said.

WBAMC plans to open a new emergency facility at some point in the next five to ten years.

And sooner than that, they plan to open two more of those urgent care centers at satellite locations, for non-life-threatening conditions.

At least one by them is expected to open by the end of the year.

Article Topic Follows: News

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