Providing health care in military settings is similar,
in some ways, to civilian settings and in some ways different.
In civilian settings, the primary responsibility is to
the patient, with secondary concerns from the insurance company, employer
and family. In military settings, the primary responsibility is to the
In most cases, the interests of the Command and the
interests of the patient are the same, particularly in a garrison setting.
In a deployed setting, divergence of interest may occasionally arise,
creating challenges for the military health care provider.
Military medicine also differs from civilian medicine
in three other fundamental ways:
Medical providers are isolated.
Medical resources are limited.
Operational circumstances may influence the provision
of medical care.
It is because of these differences that clinical
problems in an operational setting may be treated differently than the same
clinical problem in a civilian setting. The principles of treatment are the
same: the application of treatment may be different.
Operational Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Women’s Health Care
For the most part, women's health care needs are the
same as men's health care needs. Women develop coughs, colds, stomach
upsets, contusions, abrasions, and fractures. They need preventative care
However, some of their health care needs are
Women have some unique gynecologic and obstetric
Women may have different vulnerabilities to certain
diseases or injuries.
Women may use health care services differently than
Women in the Military
Military women are a unique group. They are a generally young, healthy population,
pre-screened for most common, chronic diseases. They are, for the most part,
physically fit and engage in regular exercise.
Women in the military are, as a group, younger than
their male counterparts, are of lower rank, sustain more stress fractures,
and utilize health care services twice as often. Even after excluding
female-specific reasons (OB, GYN), they still use health care services more
often. In this regard, they are similar to civilian women who also use
health care services more often. In most studies, like their civilian
counterparts, although they use health care services more often, they are
generally less satisfied with those services than men.
Women in the military come from many backgrounds.
Among Navy recruits, nearly half have been victims of physical domestic
abuse prior to entry into the service, a figure similar to their male
As a group, women have:
More self-reported chronic conditions and all acute
conditions except injuries
Higher illness rates
More days of illness and disability
10% more acute conditions, particularly infections,
respiratory problems and digestive conditions
Poorer dental status
More genitourinary problems
Less chronic illness leading to death
Lower death rates
About one-third of the OB-GYN health care visits made
by military women are for routine care. Most of the remaining visits are
to the PowerPoint Lecture...
Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Department of the Navy