An Interview with a Chiropractor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

walter-reedRecently featured in The American Chiropractor magazine, Dr. Bill Morgan gave a glimpse into a typical day in the life of a healthcare provider at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).  

Below is a short excerpt from Dr. David Dolberg’s experience visiting Dr. Morgan at Walter Reed:

I recently had an opportunity to visit the Chiropractic Department at Walter Reed National Medical Center.  As a component of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, it was inspiring to see chiropractic integrated with multiple specialties.  The miracles I witnessed there were important and moving, both personally and professionally.  It was a thrill to see chiropractic and the tools of our trade used to improve the lives of so many wounded warriors.

At the chiropractic department Bill introduced me to another staff DC, Dr. Terence Kearney, along with longtime chiropractic assistants Rosie and Sharlene.  Each treatment room is well equipped.  Along with terrific integration with other physical medicine departments, they do what we love to do: chiropractic.  They treat a variety of patients, with the most challenging being, of course, the seriously “wounded warriors”. But they also see the whole gamut of spine-related things as they treat military, including high-ranking officers and VIPs.

As I thanked Bill for a fun tour and interesting day, I commented that I was quite taken by all the great people I had met, the camaraderie, and the cooperative attitude of all the departments.  Everywhere I went the theme seemed to be: rebuild the confidence, the self-esteem, the self-worth.  To this, Bill responded, “Our nation is indebted to those who have placed themselves in harm’s way on our behalf.  We strive to show every wounded hero the depths of our nation’s gratitude.”


bill-morganDr. Daniel Redwood interviewed Dr. Morgan while he was still in the Chiropractic Department at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland, where he worked with injured service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other servicemen and women with conditions that chiropractic can help. Below is an excerpt of his interview:

Tell us about your experience in the military prior to practicing as a chiropractor in a military setting?

I joined the Navy at age 17 and became a hospital corpsman. During my time in the Navy I served as a corpsman for Marine Recon, where I was trained in special warfare techniques including combat diving, anti-terrorist tactics, parachuting, mountaineering, arctic survival, and underwater swimmer insertions from submarines. While I deployed overseas, our unit rescued a ship full of Vietnamese refugees who had been attacked by modern-day pirates and left sinking. I was able to provide humanitarian medical care to those who had been injured.

What led to your decision to become a chiropractor?

After I was discharged from the military, I herniated my L5-S1 disc and suffered with severe back and leg pain. Frustrated with medicine’s approach to my pain, I tried chiropractic. Within a week of seeing a chiropractor, Dr. Bill Westfall, I was 90 percent better. This was a major turning point for me; I changed majors in college and sought a career in chiropractic.

What are the advantages that you’ve seen for patients, for chiropractors, and for the hospital itself in having a chiropractor, or more than one chiropractor, on staff?

Our presence here offers a non-medical and non-surgical treatment option. Also, the physicians become accustomed to chiropractic care with time and many actually become advocates for chiropractic.

Chiropractors on staff may benefit a hospital in several ways. Directly increasing the profitability of the hospital is one way, but another benefit is by making the hospital more attractive to potential patients. Patients who desire non-surgical, non-drug treatments would prefer a hospital with chiropractic available, making that hospital more competitive.

Do you work as part of a team?

Yes and no. For the most part we operate as a regular chiropractic clinic, albeit with increased communication with the patient’s other providers. In complex cases, I try to meet with the other providers to coordinate care. For inpatients the team approach is the standard.

Is collaboration with the medical doctors there going smoothly?

There are certain physicians I have formed strong alliances with: spine surgeons, PMR [physical medicine and rehabilitation] physicians, neuroradiology, internal medicine and neurologists. I try to maximize outcomes by coordinating care and seeking counsel from these various specialties. For example, when a patient is referred to chiropractic for treatment of symptoms attributed to a stroke, I usually call the patient’s neurologist and make sure that he or she is onboard with my proposed chiropractic treatment program.

Collaboration is focused, patient-centered care and for the most part it works wonderfully. When we pool our thoughts and resources we are able to get results that aren’t possible without the team.

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If you would like to find out how an experienced chiropractor in Augusta GA may be beneficial for you, you can schedule a complimentary consultation with Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic.  Many of our patients have said they wish they had considered other alternatives sooner.  Our complimentary consultations are an integral part of our patient experience here, and you can also watch videos of our patients describing their own chiropractic experience.


The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.

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