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Army Reserve leader offers ethical enlightenment
Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff, 99th Regional Support Command commanding general, conducts a special seminar on biomedical ethics for nearly two-dozen medical students Jan. 22, 2013, at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Philadelphia, Pa. The seminar is a part of the military’s F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. Waff was invited to speak to the students during their Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons meeting. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris/Released)
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Army Reserve leader offers ethical enlightenment to military medical students

Posted 1/31/2013   Updated 1/31/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
99th Regional Support Command


1/31/2013 - PHILADELPHIA  -- Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff conducted a special seminar on biomedical ethics at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Jan. 22, 2013, for nearly two-dozen medical students attending the college as part of the military's F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Waff, 99th Regional Support Command commanding general, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., was invited to speak to the students at their Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons meeting.

"My intent was to raise the awareness of real-world issues they'll be wrestling with in medical ethics," explained Waff, who holds a doctorate in medical ethics and serves as the director of Pastoral Care, Ethics and Interpreter Services for Vista Health in Waukegan, Ill.

Waff received the invitation to speak at the students' AMOPS meeting from Army 2nd Lt. Laura Chachula, a second-year medical student and AMOPS member.

"As part of our curriculum, we have classes on medical ethics," explained Chachula. "We thought it would be good to integrate the medical ethics with what we do as physicians in the military. That's why we wanted Waff to come and give us that perspective on military medical ethics."

Waff spoke about several ethics issues the students may face in their civilian and military careers, to include living wills and powers of attorney, Do Not Resuscitate and Do Not Intubate orders and technological advances in medicine that may be outpacing their own ethical implementation.

"With medical technology, we can do anything today," Waff said. "This doesn't necessarily mean we have to do everything."

The American Medical Association offers guidance in the form of its Code of Medical Ethics, which offers nine Principles of Medical Ethics and states, "As a member of this profession, a physician must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to self."

, The students may one day face unique ethical challenges on and off the battlefield such as: maintaining medical profiles at the unit level, certifying service members as fit for duty in a combat zone and administering proper care to prisoners of war.

"Having a balance between chain-of-command and the doctor/physician relationship might be a little bit of a gray area," said Army 2nd Lt. Sabrina Scabo, a second-year medical student and AMOPS member.

"Also, with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) protecting Soldiers' privacy rights, the commander has a right to some of the information so he can carry out his duties with his Soldiers," Chachula added.

Participants in the program enter active-duty military service and upon graduation advance to the rank of captain as they begin to fulfill their military obligation, which can range up to several years depending on their medical specialty.

The students, as members of AMOPS, are also part of an association that was established in 1977 to serve and represent osteopathic physicians in the uniformed services. AMOPS promotes the advancement of osteopathic principles in military/federal practice and institutions, and conducts an annual Continuing Medical Education conference to support the maintenance of operational medicine for its members.

Visit www.goarmy.com/amedd/education/hpsp.html for information on the HSPSand www.amops.org/for information on AMOPS.



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