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Bad medicine

Captain Mary Hanna, US Army (Reserve), has decided that green just isn't her color.

Captain Hanna signed an agreement with the United States Army back in 1997. In exchange for the Army paying for her schooling, she would serve four years on active duty, then four more in the Reserve. She's finishing up her residency at Tufts University, but now she's not so eager to fulfill her agreement.

She says that since she agreed to that standard contract, she's experienced a renewal of her Coptic Christian faith, and as such she can not in good conscience participate in war or anything that offers the slightest bit of support for war.

The army, on the other hand, says that it really could use Dr. Hanna's services. It says it needs 95 anaesthesiologists, and it currently has only 75. And more to the point, she signed a contract -- one which they've lived up to their end.

The Army has even offered Captain Hanna guarantees that she will not serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other potential war zone, but that's not good enough for her. She sees serving in the Army in any way, shape, or form as lending support to warfare, and simply cannot do it in good conscience.

I have a few thoughts about this matter. Does that mean that a civilian Dr. Hanna would refuse to treat police officers, who use force in the line of duty? How about criminals? Would her devout beliefs conflict with her Hippocratic Oath in such a case?

Captain Hanna, through her attorney, says that she is willing to repay the Army for the $184,000 it has invested in her so far. I think that's a nice gesture, but a little short. I'd like to see her not only repay her own debt, but double it -- to train her replacement. And all of it up front, not over time. The Army's program is NOT a loan program, but a "quid pro quo" arrangement. She violated it, and to reduce it to a simple "here's your money back" deal threatens to undermine the whole program's very existence.

That's just for starters. I'd like to see the civilian Dr. Hanna banned from receiving any sort of government aid, fees, or the like. After all, she is rejecting the Army, and the Army is an essential part of the government. To accept payment from the government that created, sustains, commands, uses, and relies on the Armed Services should be just as morally repugnant as working for the Army directly.

I'm glad Captain Hanna found her faith, and has it to comfort her. It's just too bad it conflicts so strongly with her prior oaths -- both the one she swore when she was commissioned an officer in the United States Army and the one she took as a physician.


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Comments (30)

I think she needs a good lo... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

I think she needs a good long talk with her priest -- a real Coptic priest, not a hedge-priest that doesn't know doctrine. She may be barred from bearing arms, but not from treating the injured, whether they are in the military or out of it -- and whether or not she is in an Army uniform or out of it.

In fact, refusing to treat soldiers -- or policemen or criminals -- because they are sinners, is probably a bigger sin than they are guilty of. After all, you are supposed to love the sinner, even if you hate the sin.

OTOH, I think a more fitting end of this would be for her to enter monastic orders -- an order dedicated to poverty. She should abjure the world, to demonstrate her faith.

Why is it that so many offi... (Below threshold)

Why is it that so many officers-to-be who claim to be conscientious objectors suddenly "discover" the fact right about the time they're finishing school on the government dime, and not 3 years before? Gee... I wonder.

It seems Captain Hanna is t... (Below threshold)

It seems Captain Hanna is trying to hide in her version of a safe room.

Too bad for her the walls are as sturdy as those of Less Nessman's office. (WKRP) As some of you may remember, Less's office was built out of principle. He believed he deserved his own office so he drew lines on the floor and everyone had to knock on the imaginary door to get in.

Captain Hanna's safe room is built out of principle too. The only problem is those walls are only seen by her and her prior commitments can walk right through them.

As a retired NCO, neocon, rightwing warmongering hawk, I find some forms of Christian fundamentalism just as dangerous as the lefties who draw lines around themselves and claim that is their safe area too.

And I really don't think the Islamic fundamentalist will knock on the fake door to get in.

You guys are all too nice. ... (Below threshold)

You guys are all too nice. I think and 8x8 cell in Levenworth for 10 years or so would be an equitable exchange.

I wish they had the power t... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I wish they had the power to pull her license. I wonder how strong her principles would be then?

Seems to me that some who c... (Below threshold)
G Braden:

Seems to me that some who claim Biblical faith as motive are the ones that willfully dismiss any portion of the Bible of with which they disagree. As Christians, we are told by Christ that our word should be our word. We need to let our Yes be yes without oaths and without vows (Matthew 5:36-37). She as a Christian is bound, if her faith is genuine to honor not only verbal agreements but written and signed ones also. Seems the Army is bending over backwards to accommodate her. She needs to fulfil her obligation, one that she made, and not use Christ as an excuse to get out of it. The Bible does not support her in this.

I hear what you're saying, ... (Below threshold)

I hear what you're saying, jumpingjoe, but I would wager there is a boatload of Christian fundamentalists in the military.

Hanna is using an excuse and a poor one at that. Everyone knows that. And, if I ran a hospital, I would hate to have her as my anesthesiologist.

In a fair and just resoluti... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

In a fair and just resolution, the gov't would pass a law allowing the equivalent of a revokation of one's degree from any university if one failed to serve under the contractual agreement. Maybe restrict her from ever obtaining any state licensure to practice anything. That would hit Mary Hanna right in the pocket and cause her to possibly reconsider her high moral standards. She'd drop the religious mumbo jumbo if you took her earning potential away. It's really all about the money here. We already know she's a crook and a coward and those two things cannot be fixed.

I think she should have to ... (Below threshold)

I think she should have to repay her debt, Pay for her replacements training, and be barred from practicing medicine for twice her military commitment. Or be sent to Jail as a military deserter. The hypocratic oath says "do no harm" it doesnt say take the money from the military and then refuse to help them.
These doctors that take the money then become objectors due to religious reasons need to be made an example of. She may have beaten out someone for the scholarship that actually wanted to do the job, and had a sense of duty.

Another thought: I bet the ... (Below threshold)

Another thought: I bet the people in college right now with the same agreements with the Army are watching this very closely.

It's simple to me, jail or the Army.

I hear what you'r... (Below threshold)
I hear what you're saying, jumpingjoe, but I would wager there is a boatload of Christian fundamentalists in the military

To be quite honest I never found that to be the case. Meaning the term "fundamentalists" as a way to describe those who take literal interpretations of the Bible and claim God doesn't grant a right to self-defense.

Sure I knew plenty that went to church on Sunday and had a Jesus Fish on their car, but nowhere near the Biblical interpretation that would make them conscientious objectors.

Fulfill your commitment or ... (Below threshold)

Fulfill your commitment or spend an equivalent amount of time in a military prison AND surrender your medical license that was obtained by way of fraudulent signing of a legally binding contract. I have no use for these equivocating phonies!

One last thought before I h... (Below threshold)

One last thought before I hit the grindstone. A week ago today my son left for basic training at Fort Benning, GA.

During the "signing up" process, the military now has a lengthy document that all recruits must read and sign concerning "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

In the past, service members could claim after enlistment that they were homosexuals to get released from their commitments.

That is no longer the case. If you claim homosexuality after reading and signing the document, you face one year in prison for doing so.

It's time to put the "conscientious objector" policy into place in the "signing up" process also. Claiming "conscientious objector status" after enlistment and especially after receiving ALL of your free training should be subjected to one year in jail.

After all, what's one year in jail if your convictions are so strong on behalf of God?

Put her on the first plane ... (Below threshold)

Put her on the first plane to Baghdad and put her to work. If she refuses to do her duty/job in Baghdad, then court-marshall her, throw her in jail, and take away her medical license due to her felony conviction.

jumpingjoe, I guess it all ... (Below threshold)

jumpingjoe, I guess it all depends on the definition of fundamentalists and conscientious objectors.

My definition of Christian fundamentalists is this:

BTW my recollection of the conscientious objectors who went to Canada during the Vietnam war had nothing to do with religion.

Clancy is right and more th... (Below threshold)

Clancy is right and more then likely thats what shes going to get. Oh wait,shes a female the rules are differant for women then men. I'd send her directly into combat and tell her to quickly reconsider her objections. Better men and women then her have died to give her the privilege of this education she owes the ARMY and I doubt they are going to let her skate.

Surey there is someone he... (Below threshold)

Surey there is someone here who can take Captain Hanna's place on the battlefield, right?

I do belive with o... (Below threshold)
Tincan Sailor:

I do belive with out to much research you can
find 1 Medal of Honor Winner that was a
conscientious objector and many other combat
medics that served in ww-2 that were
conscientious objectors which doesn't say much
for this broads class...

jumpingjoe, I gue... (Below threshold)
jumpingjoe, I guess it all depends on the definition of fundamentalists and conscientious objectors

Actually fundamentalism is used in broader terms now-a-days other than the origin of "Christian fundamentalism". That is why I would use THIS instead as an example of its usage.

The word "fundamentalists" is used to describe those who have strict interpretations of their religion whether Christian or other beliefs.

I think it is a fair word to describe a Christain whose beliefs are so strictly dictated by a literal interpretation that she can not in good consceice perform medical procedures on American soldiers.

But to be truly fair, I personally prefer the word "phoney", as her timing of announcing her convictions coincides with her completion of schooling.

Surey there is someone h... (Below threshold)

Surey there is someone here who can take Captain Hanna's place on the battlefield, right?

Posted by: MyPetGloat

My guess is when she raised her right hand and swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, she was taking someone's place that also wanted to be there.

Funny how her epiphany came just as she was finishing school and not during the middle of it.

As a Captain in the militar... (Below threshold)

As a Captain in the military, Captain Hanna has been receiving a captain's salary all the way through her internship and residency which is a huge amount of money compared to what is given to civilians in residency. I would guess that she found a private practice that is willing to pay her a big salary. She made a commitment and signed a contract with the military. She knew about her religion before she entered medical school. the army already has a shortage of doctors. They need to rely on the doctors who have agreed to serve in exchange for scholarship money. The army has gone out of their way to offer her a non-combat position. This is one selfish woman.

Let's see, according to the... (Below threshold)

Let's see, according to the article -

"After her father, a former Egyptian military officer, died in 2003, Hanna said she was again drawn to God and rekindled her faith."

So, her faith was rekindled in 2003, but it didn't force her to file concientious objector status until 2005.

She was probably too busy w/ her residency to notice how she felt....

mypetgloat:<blockquot... (Below threshold)


Surey there is someone here who can take Captain Hanna's place on the battlefield, right?

Read before you talk:

The Army has even offered Captain Hanna guarantees that she will not serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other potential war zone,

As Jumpinjoe said, she swore the oath, she recieved the salary, she signed the contract and she recieved the education grants.
Perhaps it is you who should be taking her place since you seem to agree with her breach of contract and integrity.

Simple cure for this and an... (Below threshold)

Simple cure for this and any future nuts that don't want to honor (they have no honor) their agreement. Ban them and any agency they work for from receiving money from Medi-Care or any other taxpayer funded system. Then we can have more college aducated idiots (there are lots of them now) learning to say 'do you want fries with that'?

Back in the days when men a... (Below threshold)

Back in the days when men and women who believed in peace would die before lifting a hand to protect themselves because they believed with all their being that this is what God required of them... they served without weapons as medics on the battlefield to save lives. Among them are heroes that could put any mighty warrior to shame.

This strange abberation that saving the life of a soldier is abhorent to her God just shows who her God is.

Coptic faith my ass. No Christian faith has *ever* equated saving lives with waging war.

Payback, double *with* jail time.

Nothing less.

If you look at <a hr... (Below threshold)

If you look at

For medical school students at Tufts like Mary Hanna, who learned she will pursue her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the day was extremely exciting.
"It was all gratitude," she told the Boston Metro, describing her emotions when she ripped open her envelope and learned of her residency. "I never imagined that I would get into their program, and all my anticipation just hit me."
Hanna will study anesthesiology -- one of the specialties rising in popularity in recent years.
"It's exciting," she told The Boston Globe. "You have to know about a lot of different things, ob-gyn, orthopedic surgery. You see the effects of the drugs right away."
The career path also gives her a lot more control over her lifestyle -- which is an increasingly important factor for students entering the medical field

If she was worried about her lifestyle then why did she sign up with the military. She appears to have planned on getting out of her military obligation even before she went to residency.

Scrapiron has it right: no... (Below threshold)

Scrapiron has it right: no Federal money: no Medicaire, no Medicaid...

Wait a minute. So where's the downside of being a non-participating physician?

I say Leavenworth. 15 years hard labor. No parole.

Will it happen? Probably not.

As a Coptic christian I jus... (Below threshold)

As a Coptic christian I just feel ashamed by this woman's refusal to fulfill her oath to her country. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE COPTIC FAITH THAT PREVENTS A PERSON FROM SERVING THEIR COUNTRY. SHAME ON YOU MARY. SHAME ON YOU.

What an ignorant group of p... (Below threshold)
Real Christian:

What an ignorant group of people you are!

Do you not realize that the military has anticipated that a soldier, after enlisting, may come to believe that all war fare is morally wrong? Military regulations themselves allow for conscientious objectors to ask to be released or to serve in noncombat roles if they are sincerely opposed to war.

This doctor has been recruited to Fort Bliss - one of the major deployment preparation centers in America. So the army lawyer says she will not be sent to a combat zone - why is she being sent to a deployment center?

It's stupid to think that she did this in order to use army funding that she would have to pay back. If that was her intention all along, she would have just as easily taken out student loans. Do you realize what legal fees cost to have a federal appeal like what she's currently going through? No one, especially not a doctor, would have any hesitation about taking out student loans and no one would sign up for the army unless at the time they believed in it.

Why is it so difficult for any of you to consider that maybe she did reflect on the army and contemplate her role in the devastation and destruction that is caused so unnecessarily and come to a moral determination that she could not participate in such a force?

The army has recognized this as a potential and has accordingly legislated a regulation that allows for someone who sincerely comes to believe that war is wrong to be excused from participating therein.

You are a bunch of savages to suggest she should be forced into service or jailed for coming to a religious conviction that she opposes war. How are you promoting democracy if you force a person into war against her beliefs and against her decision, especially when she is legally entitled to what she is requesting.

Shame on all of you.

Wow, Real Christian. Judgme... (Below threshold)

Wow, Real Christian. Judgmental much?

So the Army wants to send one of its doctors to a certain base. It's not in a combat zone -- it's not even outside the United States -- so perhaps that's where they think that doctor could best be used. Soldiers get injured all over the place.

As far as the "Conscientious Objector" business -- google up the name "Desmond T. Doss." He was a conscientious objector during World War II, and STILL won the Congressional Medal of Honor -- without once picking up a weapon.

Captain Hanna signed a contract, and the Army is willing to make tremendous concessions in order to let her honor both that contract and her newly-discovered beliefs. She's just trying to weasel out of her obligations -- and they're not ones she owes the Army, but the entire United States of America. As a taxpayer who helped contribute to her education and training, I feel we held up our end; it's time for her to uphold hers.







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