Heartland Military Doctor
By: Wendy Ray
(Cape Girardeau, MO)--Injured military men and women is the part of war no one likes to think about.
For one Heartland doctor, it's a reality he may have to face.
Right now, Dr. David Cope is director of medical affairs at Southeast Hospital, but he also serves our country as a physician and surgeon in the United States Army.
Dr. Cope says, "At this point, if things continue to escalate, we'll all go."
Dr. Cope's career with the military began in Vietnam, when he was drafted. Through the years, he's served as an Army Nuclear Disaster Officer, was a member of the Arkansas Air National Guard, and was activated during Desert Storm. His most recent appointment as a command surgeon in the Pacific Air Forces may call him up again, this time with the war in Iraq.
"Do I expect to be called again? Well maybe I can answer that by saying my duffel bag and footlocker have been packed for two weeks so I can go on a moments notice,"
Dr. Cope says. In his job as director of medical affairs at Southeast Hospital, Dr. Cope serves as a liaison between doctors and the administration. But his duties as a physician and surgeon with the U.S. Military have put him right by injured men and women.
"There still remains the same number of diarrhea and pneumonias, ear infections, broken arms from falling off a tank or from slipping, whatever. Once combat starts, it's a different story. Plus there's an increase in psychological problems, war is not glamorous," he says.
Dr. Cope doesn't know if he'll be called to serve in this war, but he's ready, if it happens. "I have had my duffel bag and footlocker ready for Bosnia, Afghanistan, and now Iraq. It's just a fact of life."