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 Forty-Five Years Later, Toledo, OH, Vascular Surgeon is Able to Provide “Hands-On” Support for the Troops

​January 30, 2012 Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson 312-334-2311 scknutson@vascularsociety.org

CHICAGO – Society for Vascular Surgery® member, Steven S. Gale, M.D.,
of Toledo, OH, (photo at right: Brian Beldowicz, M.D. on left; Steven S. Gale, M.D. in center; Matt McHale, D.O. on right) volunteered to spend two weeks treating wounded American soldiers transported from Afghanistan to the U.S. Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany.

“It brought me full circle to have been able to contribute to the effort at LRMC,” said Vietnam veteran, Steven S. Gale, M.D.

“I was a platoon leader in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade at Dak To, Vietnam, in 1967,” he said. “We were involved in the infamous battle for ‘Hill 875’ in the Central Highlands during which more than 300 soldiers were killed or wounded.  I remember the feeling of helplessness at being unable to do anything for the dead GI’s.”

After Special Forces training, Gale was scheduled to return to Vietnam. Instead, he decided to leave the Army and attend school. He became a vascular surgeon. Now, 45 years later, Dr. Gale returned to an Army hospital to provide medical assistance for wounded GIs. 

“During my two-week vascular rotation at LRMC, I worked tirelessly on the wounded GI’s,” said Dr. Gale. “I met innumerable wonderfully motivated, devoted health care workers, especially the military trauma surgeons alongside whom I toiled with the best of my ability to get the soldiers back home. We made progress most of the time but there were some disappointments.” 

Dr. Gale’s volunteer service at LRMC extended from Jan. 1- 21, 2012.  As the largest American hospital outside the United States, LRMC is a Level 1 Trauma Center. Since 2001, the medical staff at LRMC has treated more than 64,000 Wounded Warriors. 

Since Sept. 2007, 72 Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) members have volunteered to supplement the limited number of vascular surgeons at the medical center. “The Society for Vascular Surgery is proud to have provided continuous two-week rotations of vascular surgeons at LRMC for the past four years,” said 2011-2012 SVS President Dr. Richard Cambia. “As vascular surgeons, we help repair damaged arteries and veins of coalition military personnel in the Global War on Terror."

It was in 2006 that SVS member and retired U.S. Army Col. David Gillespie of the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General and professor of surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., asked Society members to share their medical expertise as volunteer surgeons at LRMC. Immediately, SVS members responded to support the troops. Currently, there is a waiting list of 2011-2012 SVS members desiring to volunteer at LRMC.
 
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About the Society for Vascular Surgery®

The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the United States advocate for 3,750 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at www.VascularWeb.org® and follow SVS on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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VascularWeb® is the prime source for all vascular health and disease information, and is presented by the Society for Vascular Surgery®. Its members are vascular surgeons, specialists, and vascular health professionals who are specialty-trained in all treatments for vascular disease including medical management, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.