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May 19, 1989

Now and Then, Even Rugged Marines May Need a Few Good Physicians

JAMA. 1989;261(19):2776. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420190038006

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WHO TAKES CARE of the men and women of the US Marine Corps? Most marines probably would say they can take care of themselves. But of course some do become ill or are injured and it is the US Navy that provides medical care.

There are 242 Navy physicians and four nurses assigned to the Marine Corps. At Kaneohe Bay Marine Air Station in Hawaii, the clinic medical staff say they see little of the marines. "They're usually up in the hills and they really do take care of themselves," remarks a Navy physician. "We only see serious injuries." (Marines also serve aboard ships, at US embassies, and as pilots or other aircrew.)

When marines are in the field, they have a medical station where first aid can be given. This might include a corpsman's starting intravenous fluids or doing initial splinting.

In combat, that station would be backed up