Shaking the hand of a hero during American Pharmacists Month visits

On October 13, I visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, DC, where I received a briefing on pharmacy operations and visited with soldiers in the Army Wounded Warrior Program during a tour of outpatient and inpatient pharmacy operations at the Warrior Transition Unit. During the hospital tour, I watched severely wounded soldiers engage in physical therapy sessions and shook the hand of a hero. PFC Dave (not his real name) is a patient at the hospital where he is recovering from major traumatic wounds suffered in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Afghanistan. His pharmacist, Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator Dr. Chengqing Li, introduced us and gave me the chance to thank the soldier and his family for their service and sacrifice for our country. I can’t describe how these visits make me feel, other than to say we should be so grateful for our soldiers and their willingness to preserve freedom around the world, through essential support here at home. We should be thankful for everything that freedom affords us.

Duane Tackitt joined me on my rounds at WRAMC. We were hosted by four outstanding pharmacists, including COL John Spain, Deputy Commander of Clinical Support, and LTC Rick Nannini, Chief, Department of Pharmacy. We were joined by CPT Alex Shilman, a PGY1 (postgraduate year 1) resident, and Dr. Li, who is the pharmacist attending to the direct patient care needs of the wounded warriors, including PFC Dave, whom I described above.

You may recall I reported last year on my visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. I continue to be amazed and in awe of the contributions these pharmacists make. I’m also impressed with the innovative uses of technology being developed to meet the special needs of our troops, who may be recovering from traumatic brain injuries and other wounds. Keep up the good work. You have our wholehearted support!