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Walter Reed Army Medical Center Closing

July 25, 2011 by USA Post 

Walter Reed Army Medical Center ClosingWalter Reed Army Medical Center Closing, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, flagship hospital of the Army, where soldiers have been presidents of care, is closing its doors after more than a century. Hundreds of thousands of the nation’s war wounded World War I until now have been treated at Walter Reed, including 18,000 soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Dwight Eisenhower died there. So did Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas MacArthur. It is where countless celebrities, from Bob Hope to quarterback Tom Brady, have failed to show their respect for the wounded. Through the use of medical diplomacy, the center has also tended to foreign leaders.

The story hospital, which opened in 1909, was marked by a scandal of 2007 on the poor living conditions on their land for wounded soldiers in outpatient care and the procedures they face. This led to better care for the wounded at Walter Reed and the military. By then, however, plans were moving forward to close the Walter Reed campus. Two years earlier, a government commission, noting that Walter Reed was showing its age, voted to close the center and the consolidation of operations with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and a hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia to save money. Former and current patients staff and will be fired at a ceremony Wednesday at the main square opposite the main hospital complex concrete and glass. Most phones will be in August. On 15 September the army in the hands of the campus to new tenants: the State Department and the District of Columbia. The buildings on campus are considered national monuments preserved, while others will probably be demolished. The city is expected to develop their section for commercial and others.

“For many of the staff, although we know that this is the future of military health system, in some ways still is like losing your favorite uncle, and therefore there is a certain amount of mourning that is happening and is an emotional time, “said Col. Norvell Coots, commander of Walter Reed System of Health. The new facility will be called Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It will consolidate many of the current Walter Reed offers the Navy hospital. “Frankly, I say it is with great sadness that Walter Reed closes. I do not know. I know there was a process of that decision, but we lost a large part of the story,” said Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of former president.

Bring to the hospital recalled a birthday cake she had prepared for his grandfather, who spent the last months before his death in 1969 in a special suite where politicians and foreign leaders visited him.

There are countless pieces of history around the campus.

In the rose garden, some nurses at the time of the Vietnam War was said to have married their patients. The memorial chapel is where President Harry S. Truman was for his service in the church for the first time since taking office, after a visit to Pershing, who lived in a suite at Walter Reed for several years, said John Pierce, historian Walter Reed Society.

A marker identifies the location in the hospital grounds, where, long before the hospital was built, snipers fired near the Confederation of President Abraham Lincoln, leading to an officer to call Lincoln a “idiot” and for him on the ground, according to a pamphlet published by Walter Reed about his history.

Teenager President Calvin Coolidge died in hospital from a blister was infected while playing tennis at the White House, said Pierce. A black and white photo from 1960 shows then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson, a candidate for vice president in time, visiting the head of Vice President Richard Nixon, who was being treated for a staph infection.

Presidents are now sent to Bethesda for treatment because it is considered safer, said Sanders Marble, senior historian of the Office of History of Medicine at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The hospital was named after Major Walter Reed, an Army medic who treated the troops and American Indians on the frontier. Among his achievements was to save life medical research proved that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever. He died in 1902 at age 51 from complications related to appendicitis with a friend and colleague, Lt. Col. William C. Borden, treating.

“I’m sure he (Borden) felt very guilty about it, and over the next few years, campaigned to raise money for a new hospital and, of course, wanted the name of his good friend Walter Reed” Pierce said.

The original red brick hospital had about 80 beds, but the hospital capacity grew by the thousands in the wars of the last century. Today, dealing with 775,000 outpatients a year, and has a load of about 150 inpatients. It was not just service members and military retirees treated in hospital for decades, but their families, too. Countless babies born in hospital in the 1990s.

Rehabilitation for the injured, including the care of amputees, has been an important part of the mission since it opened. The injured tend to spend a year or more in the hospital, although they are quickly moved to outpatient care.

Photos of the First World War troops to show Walter Reed learning skills such as typing and knitting. During the Second World War, leaflets distributed to war amputees amputees offered images of smoking and shaving. The message was: “Your life is not over, it knocked me over,” Marmol said.

Laura Lehigh late husband, Michael Schmidt, was a lieutenant when he proposed marriage during his stay at Walter Reed. Was recovering from a gunshot wound he received in Vietnam in 1968.

In letters to her, stinking wedges described a “new prisoner,” moving into their neighborhood, a “celebrity of the week” visit “Tricky Dick Nixon,” jokes played on nursing students, a group of champagne an amputee triple on 26 birthday, and how the ambulance turned patients’ beds near a window around I could see Johnson go into the hospital to visit Eisenhower.

“Mike has always had a wonderful sense of humor, but I think it kind of all aspired to have a sense of humor, the guys who lost their members did not know what their lives would be like going out. I think that there camaraderie and a sense of humor and optimism about themselves, if not about life in general, “said Lehigh, 63, in a telephone interview from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Despite all the sensations of heat, a Washington Post investigation in 2007 discovered the conditions of poor quality of life in an outpatient room known as Building 18. The troops were living among the black mold and mouse droppings in trying to fend for themselves when faced with a complex bureaucratic procedures related to the disability evaluation system.

The report was based on examination of all aspects of care provided to wounded nation. The scandal embarrassed the military and the Bush administration and led to the dismissal of some military leaders.

Then, some in Congress pressured the Pentagon to change course and follow Walter Reed open, but an independent review of the idea and recommended to proceed with plans to close Walter Reed.

He concluded that the Defense Department was or should have been aware of the widespread problems but neglected them because they knew that Walter Reed was scheduled to be closed. Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, agreed, and said there was little wisdom in putting money into Walter Reed to keep it open indefinitely.

“It’s much better to invest in new, 21st century facilities,” Gates told reporters.

Pierce said the quality of care at Walter Reed did not suffer, even before the scandal.

“It was administrative and housing, and housing problems were significant. I do not think anyone wants to say they were not and should not have happened, but it was a quality of care situation,” Pierce said.

In addition to the living conditions of the other improvements after the scandal was the opening of a rehabilitation center for amputees advance troops. On a recent day, amputees, including some who had lost three members, exercising in the room, include one on a skateboard.

Marine Sgt. Rob Jones, 25, is a double amputee of the war in Afghanistan, who spends much of the day for rowing. Its goal is to become an FBI agent or make the U.S. team adaptive rowing.

One of the more than 440 soldiers from the wars of the last receiving outpatient care, she sat on a bench outside the center of a book. His dentures were visible beneath his shorts.

“Probably just reminds people that he was working, the staff here, how much they helped me return to my feet.” Jones said.

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