Surgical readiness in the Military Health Service is fraying fast. A nine-month U.S. News investigation has uncovered mounting evidence that military medical leaders are squandering a valuable wartime asset: the surgeons and surgical teams that save lives on the battlefield and back home.
The investigation is the latest chapter in a continuing U.S. News probe of military health care. Interviews with more than two dozen active-duty and retired military surgeons and a confidential survey of Army surgeons and Pentagon records obtained by U.S. News have found:
- Severe shortages of skilled surgeons, especially trauma surgeons, on active duty and in the reserves.
- Army field hospitals that “are not staffed with appropriate specialty capabilities for a combat theater.”