Central PA Medicine Fall 2017 - 6

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Veterans in Medicine
By ERIC BALABAN

W

hat draws a person to pursue a career in medicine? Perhaps
it's the honest desire to help others. Or maybe it's the allure of
self-fulfillment through exercising particular talents. Others
may be drawn to personal ideologies of what seems like the
right thing to do. No matter the reason, all physicians ultimately answer a
call to serve their patients. We are compelled, for one reason or another, to
serve our communities. Some physicians are further compelled to answer
an additional call to serve: the call of military duty.
I've wanted to be a part of the armed forces for as long as I can remember.
Particularly in childhood, I was fascinated and inspired by the bravery of
soldiers from before my time. High school history classes taught me the
magnitude of their dedication as I studied the World Wars, the Vietnam
War, and others. Dramatizations on television and in movies gave these
conflicts a face, as I watched countless servicemen commit themselves to
dangerous battles and seemingly hopeless scenarios.

Many people appreciate the drama and action that comes with remembering
such conflicts. For me, I couldn't escape the realization that so much of my
life as an American was owed to the sacrifice of those unfamiliar heroes. It
became clear that the only way my conscience would be satisfied is if I tried
to do my part.
At that time, I was a young, able-bodied track athlete in high school, and
the thought of enlisting was enticing. However, I was also fortunate enough
to excel in my academics. This opened doors to serving my country in ways
outside of the uniformed services. I attended college to study engineering with
hopes of making our nation a better place through technology. Eventually, I
began to consider medical school to satisfy my desire to personally help others.
But I never lost that passionate surge of emotion when I saw a service
member in uniform. I never shook the feeling of excitement when family
and friends shared their past experiences in the military. I continued to feel

PHOTO BY YAN LEYFMAN

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Central PA Medicine Fall 2017

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