American Health Care has always supported our uniformed employees

He was born in a small cabin in rural Virginia in 1851.

Showing a natural talent for medicine from an early age, he attended medical school at the University of Virginia, completing the two-year course in a single year and becoming, at the age of 17 , the youngest student to graduate from medical school at the university. school. This record still stands today.

At 23, the military beckoned, promising then (as now) the opportunity to serve one’s country, a chance to travel and lead a useful life in the service of others. Commissioned into the Army Medical Corps as an assistant first lieutenant surgeon in 1875, his decision to don his country’s uniform redirected his medical career toward the study of germs and infectious disease.

It was a gesture that changed the world. Over the years, his genius, insights, and diligent research into the cause and spread of typhoid and yellow fever drastically reduced disease at a time when both were ravaging the military.

Among other achievements, the young doctor demonstrated that mosquitoes were responsible for the transmission of yellow fever and malaria. He proved to skeptics that typhoid is mainly spread through poor sanitation and unclean drinking water and not through harmful air.

His discoveries have led to new ways of doing things and, over the decades, have saved countless lives of people around the world, in uniform and not. This soldier, trained in the art of war to defend his country, may have ultimately saved more lives than any doctor in the history of our country.

Today, the legacy that bears his name: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., is the pinnacle of American military medicine, providing care and service to more than one million people each year.

Our profession of healers and healers has always had the back of our military and, as in the case of Dr. Reed, some have done their life-changing work in their ranks.

Even as we celebrate the lives saved this Memorial Day, it is more important than ever to remember and honor the brave and heroic men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives in service to our country and to what it represents.

Their ultimate sacrifice defended our freedoms and helped safeguard our future. Our celebration of their lives ensures that their loss will not be forgotten and that their spirit and patriotism will live on in the hearts of their families, their communities and our nation.

We at the American Hospital Association, all of our members, and those working in hospitals and health care systems across America salute our dead. We work in healthcare to help save lives, but we understand firsthand the toll of casualties, especially the loss of young lives given in service.

For many, this weekend is a time of rest and relaxation, with family and friends. But please take a moment to also reflect on the dedication of the people Memorial Day honors…and the value – and cost – of our freedom.

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