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The Little Hospital That Could
A Personal Recollection of the 24th Medical Group At the Crossroads of History
by Terrence O'Neil View author's profile page

Overview


The book is an evocative description of the two-year effort of a small team of American and Panamanian medical personnel to provide assurance of high-quality medical care to all remaining Active Duty American Service members, their families, diplomatic staffs and contractors in Panama, as well as the Americans doing counter-drug work in Central and South America. They managed operations of a six-thousand-mile aeromedical evacuation area of responsibility. They were a key part of the initial humanitarian response for the people of Honduras following Hurricane Mitch. Located closer to Colombia than New York is to Chicago, the bi-national team successfully brought the U.S. medical presence in Panama started by Gorgas Army Community Hospital to a close in late 1999, following the closure of that large hospital in mid-1997. The recounting of history is combined with a poignant recounting of the unique beauty of Panama.
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Description


Adapted from the Editor's comments: The Little Hospital That Could, by Terrence Jay O'Neil, is a fascinating account of an unusual medical command that the author assumed at a military hospital in Panama. The Panama Canal was being gradually turned over by the United States to the government of Panama. The author was assigned to a healthcare organization made up of both Americans and Panamanians that had provided service to military and civilian personnel associated with the Canal for many years. The organization he was to manage was slated to grow three times its initial size, and then to downsize and eventually close, all in the space of two years. During the expansion, and the downsizing, the best-quality, responsive medical care, and air-ambulance service, was to be provided without any break in continuity. This author recounts how they in fact delivered this care to thousands of patients, with the cooperation of hundreds of military and civilian medical personnel who were equally dedicated to their task. It is in inspiring recounting of how well human beings can perform to help others under very difficult circumstances. Panama is also described in detail, particular the region around the Canal. The people; the jungle, which is right at the door of the various facilities; the amazing, and often quite disarming, creatures that live in the jungle and sometimes visit the yards of people's homes; the Canal itself, constantly trying to refill itself; the murderous traffic in Panama City; the beauty of the land, sea, and sky—all is described.
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About the author


Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dr. TJ O'Neil graduated from CalTech in Pasadena in 1971 and joined the Air Force as Disaster Preparedness Officer at Nellis AFB until selected for medical training at University of California San Diego. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio where he met his wife Susan, an Air Force Nurse. He then completed a Nephrology Fellowship at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center and the University of Texas San Antonio. He spent three years with his family in the Philippines, then traveled to Travis AFB, California where he was Chief of Medical Staff, Medicine Residency Program Director and Commander of the 60th Medical Ops Squadron. He commanded the hospital at Howard Air Base, Panama, during U.S. facilities closure there. After two years as Air Mobility Command Senior Physician in 2001 he finished a 30-year Air Force career. Following his first retirement, he became civilian Chief of Medical Staff at Scott AFB, moving in 2005 to James Quillen VAMC in Johnson City TN as Associate Chief of Staff for Ambulatory Care. He later took charge of the Nephrology Service there. He retired the second time in December 2016 to pursue volunteer teaching, chorale singing, writing, paleontology, inventing, and being a grandad.
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Book details

Genre:HISTORY

Subgenre:Latin America / South America

Language:English

Pages:272

Format:Paperback

eBook ISBN:9781543951134

Paperback ISBN:9781543951127


Overview


The book is an evocative description of the two-year effort of a small team of American and Panamanian medical personnel to provide assurance of high-quality medical care to all remaining Active Duty American Service members, their families, diplomatic staffs and contractors in Panama, as well as the Americans doing counter-drug work in Central and South America. They managed operations of a six-thousand-mile aeromedical evacuation area of responsibility. They were a key part of the initial humanitarian response for the people of Honduras following Hurricane Mitch. Located closer to Colombia than New York is to Chicago, the bi-national team successfully brought the U.S. medical presence in Panama started by Gorgas Army Community Hospital to a close in late 1999, following the closure of that large hospital in mid-1997. The recounting of history is combined with a poignant recounting of the unique beauty of Panama.

Read more

Description


Adapted from the Editor's comments: The Little Hospital That Could, by Terrence Jay O'Neil, is a fascinating account of an unusual medical command that the author assumed at a military hospital in Panama. The Panama Canal was being gradually turned over by the United States to the government of Panama. The author was assigned to a healthcare organization made up of both Americans and Panamanians that had provided service to military and civilian personnel associated with the Canal for many years. The organization he was to manage was slated to grow three times its initial size, and then to downsize and eventually close, all in the space of two years. During the expansion, and the downsizing, the best-quality, responsive medical care, and air-ambulance service, was to be provided without any break in continuity. This author recounts how they in fact delivered this care to thousands of patients, with the cooperation of hundreds of military and civilian medical personnel who were equally dedicated to their task. It is in inspiring recounting of how well human beings can perform to help others under very difficult circumstances. Panama is also described in detail, particular the region around the Canal. The people; the jungle, which is right at the door of the various facilities; the amazing, and often quite disarming, creatures that live in the jungle and sometimes visit the yards of people's homes; the Canal itself, constantly trying to refill itself; the murderous traffic in Panama City; the beauty of the land, sea, and sky—all is described.

Read more

About the author


Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dr. TJ O'Neil graduated from CalTech in Pasadena in 1971 and joined the Air Force as Disaster Preparedness Officer at Nellis AFB until selected for medical training at University of California San Diego. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio where he met his wife Susan, an Air Force Nurse. He then completed a Nephrology Fellowship at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center and the University of Texas San Antonio. He spent three years with his family in the Philippines, then traveled to Travis AFB, California where he was Chief of Medical Staff, Medicine Residency Program Director and Commander of the 60th Medical Ops Squadron. He commanded the hospital at Howard Air Base, Panama, during U.S. facilities closure there. After two years as Air Mobility Command Senior Physician in 2001 he finished a 30-year Air Force career. Following his first retirement, he became civilian Chief of Medical Staff at Scott AFB, moving in 2005 to James Quillen VAMC in Johnson City TN as Associate Chief of Staff for Ambulatory Care. He later took charge of the Nephrology Service there. He retired the second time in December 2016 to pursue volunteer teaching, chorale singing, writing, paleontology, inventing, and being a grandad.
Read more


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