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March 1993

Lessons Learned

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

Arch Surg. 1993;128(3):261-264. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420150015002

In 1986 a bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives that would amend the Selective Service Act to allow for registration of all health care professionals, both men and women, between the ages of 18 and 46 years. In essence, it would allow for a peacetime draft. The rationale for the bill was a critical shortage of some medical personnel. One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep G. V. "Sonny" Montgomery (D, Miss), estimated that only three in 10 casualties could be treated promptly under the 1986 level of medical readiness.1 Representative Montgomery further pointed out that the US Defense Department had only filled 61% of active-duty physician requirements, but certain specialties, such as anesthesiology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and emergency medicine, had filled fewer than 30% of requirements.

Tragically, the bill was opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, and the American

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