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Annual Report the Surgeon General United States Army Fiscal Year 1960


The practice of military medicine becomes more complex with each passing year. Not only is the scope of professional medical care steadily broadening with the constant advances that are being made in medicine and surgery, but the medical problems of military preparedness in the uncertainties of this nuclear age are increasing in magnitude and intensity. It is useful for all of us in the Army Medical Service to take the occasion at intervals to make note of what we have accomplished and to assess the progress we are making toward our objectives. That is one of the purposes of this Annual Report which covers the period from 1 July 1959 through 30 June 1960.

The primary mission of the Army Medical Service has remained the same since its inception in the Revolutionary War-to maintain the health of the Army so as to conserve its fighting strength and to prepare

in time of peace for mobilization in war. The only changes in those 185 years have been in the scope of the task involved and in the conditions and circumstances under which this mission must be accomplished. These changes have been monumental, particularly so in the last eventful decade, marked by cold war and constant threats of hot wars. We have entered into an era in which the leading scientists of all the great nations are improving and perfecting old weapons and developing new ones-instruments of war which can not only kill or incapacitate man but can also produce incredible numbers of casualties in a matter of minutes. This has had a tremendous impact upon military medicine.

We are absorbed today in the problem of determining the number of casualties likely to result from the use of nuclear weapons so that we can make realistic plans for medical support in a nuclear war. We are training the individual soldier in first aid and self-aid to provide him means for survival on a nuclear battlefield. We are indoctrinating all Army medical personnel in the techniques of treating mass casualties. We are modernizing field medical units from the standpoint of organization and equipment, and the doctrine for tactical employment, in accordance with the changing concepts of future warfare, both conventional and nuclear.

The maintenance of a high standard of medical care requires constant evaluation and adaptation of the broadening concepts of the art and science of medicine to the needs of the military service. Our

continuing objective has been to keep pace with the latest developments in medicine in order to assure the best possible care to our servicemen and their dependents. The Army Medical Service has made progress during the past year in expanding its capabilities in cardiac catheterization and open-heart surgery. Radioisotope clinics and pulmonary physiology testing are being extended to more and more of our treatment facilities. We are making progress in our program to rehabilitate and improve outpatient clinics and services in accordance with their expanded role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Within the limitations of our budget, we are striving to replace wornout and obsolete equipment and to replace our outmoded hospitals and other treatment facilities.

Through our residency training program, we have developed an organization of professional medical officers which we believe is second to none. In contrast to a relatively few years ago, when virtually all Army physicians were general practitioners, we now have on active duty nearly 1,500 board-certified and board-qualified medical officers in 28 different specialties, and the number is continuing to grow.

The Army, in administering the Medicare Program through the Office for Dependents' Medical care, has supervised, for all the uniformed services, the obtaining of and the payment for medical care from civilian sources for dependents of active duty personnel. The now more stabilized and balanced Medicare Program has become a substantial fringe benefit for all military personnel. It is also proving to be an effective, morale-building supplement to that medical care which is provided by military treatment facilities.

These are but a few of the accomplishments, developments, and problems that are discussed in this Annual Report. As evidence that the Army Medical Service accomplished its mission in fiscal year 1960, it will be noted that the daily noneffective rate among the troops declined to a new record low and that the health of Army personnel continued to be excellent.

Lieutenant General,
The Surgeon General