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Medical Assessment's Value To The Intelligence Community

1828 words - 7 pages

Thought this paper we will attempt to shed some light into how the Intelligence community can and does use medical assets, personnel, equipment, and data bases to their advantage. We will look at how knowledge of an adversary’s medical capabilities and limitations can become their center of gravity and hence its Achilles heel. Closing with an opinion base inference as to where the intelligence community can continue to push the limits and uses of the medical community. “An Army marches on its stomach”(1) is a famous saying that over the years has been attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. It’s meaning quite simple and readily applied to many factions of the military and other government agencies. It is important to recognize that Bonaparte may have been on to a very fundamental and crucial aspect that could truly enhance the Intelligence communities’ ability to look at its growing number of situations and assess them in a way so as to capitalize as much as possible. Bonaparte has been understood to mean that without proper alimentation, food, clothing, and medical support the only real expectation of any army is failure.

The proper body of medical knowledge can not only be of detriment to your enemy but can also be of enormous help to you and your allies. An interesting case as such is that of our first president and one of America’s greatest spymasters George Washington’s deaths. Notice that I used the plural form of death, only because of the conflicting views as to Washington’s final days and hours. Let’s dive into what a large majority of historians believe. The larger majority of historians believe that the first president succumbed to an untreated upper respiratory infection maybe even strep throat, turned pneumonia which over time impaired with the exchange of oxygen and eventually death. However how would we go about our decision making if we were to learn that one of the most junior physician at the Presidents bedside suggested a relatively new operative procedure and treatment option that could have radically improved the president’s outcome?

On the day in question, the young Dr Elisha Cullen Dick, a prominent physician residing in Alexandria, Virginia was summoned along with other well known physicians of the Mt.Vernon area. It was later with the exhausting of all other treatment options that Dr. Dick recommended that “the President's worsening respiratory condition made it imperative that his trachea be perforated. This newly described procedure, attempted as a last therapeutic resort, had been reported to save the lives of patients in extremis.”(2) The good Dr later writes in his journal that he “… proposed to perforate the trachea as a means of prolonging life and of affording time for the removal of the obstruction to respiration in the larynx which manifestly threatened speedy resolution."(3) However because he was a junior physician, and this was a newer procedure his suggestions fell on death ears and were subsequently...

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