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Memorializing Three Soldiers

Posted on | May 27, 2019 | 1 Comment

Eli Ginzberg, Bob Dole, Bill Magee

Mike Magee

CODE BLUE (with publication 1 week from today) began four decades ago in the noontime conference room of Colin (Tim) Thomas, M.D., chairman of surgery at the University of North Carolina, where I completed my surgical training in 1978. Tim’s pre-op conferences exposed us to his broad knowledge and understanding of medical history and its role in shaping compassionate and empathetic health professionals. Some two decades later, Eli Ginzberg PhD, the legendary Columbia health economist, generously guided me down the same pathway, and pointed me toward World War II as I struggled to understand how and why the physician had become so entangled in the Medical-Industrial Complex.

My father, William P. Magee, M.D., who was my professional and personal role model, died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1998 during my early tenure at Pfizer. He was a decorated captain in the Medical Corps of Patton’s 7th Army in Europe, one of Dr. William Menninger’s “30 Day Wonders”, trained to manage psychiatric casualties in battle zones during the war. Seeking his war records at Eli’s urging triggered a decade long exploration, reinforced by a two year, Viagra induced association with one famous World War II casualty, Senator Bob Dole.  

The 5-tier “chain of evacuation” which spanned the distance between battlefield and stateside specialty hospitals saved the life of Dole and countless others. My father worked that chain, and Eli Ginzberg helped design it. These three – the military doctor, the injured soldier, and the wartime administrator – were my silent guides through the early years of unraveling the story of how American health care came to be the global outlier it has become.

This Memorial Day I remember each of them, and their service to this country, with gratitude.

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One Response to “Memorializing Three Soldiers”

  1. Memorializing Three Soldiers – HealthCommentary : HealthCommentary – Health Article – Health & Wellness Blog
    May 30th, 2019 @ 12:49 pm

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