WUOMFM

Why it's important that doctors know about patients' military experience

Jul 1, 2016

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

Dr. Monica Lypson is a professor of Internal Medicine and Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School. She’s also the Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. She said asking patients about military service is crucial.

“One of the reasons we ask patients about what they do every day, what their past experiences are, is because it helps us think ... about what we might want to think about if there’s a problem in the future regarding their health status,” she said. “But it also is an important way to get to know people."

Dr. Paula Thompson Ross is a medical sociologist at the University of Michigan and a Desert Storm combat veteran. She’s been out of the military for more than 20 years.

“Throughout that time, not one physician has ever asked me about my military service," she said.

Listen above to hear the full conversation.

GUESTS

Dr. Monica Lypson is a professor of Internal Medicine and Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School. She’s also the associate chief of staff for education at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Dr. Paula Thompson Ross is a Desert Storm combat veteran and a medical sociologist at the University of Michigan.