Dr. Paul Returns to Leavenworth Clinic after Year-Long Deployment
For the past six years, David Paul, Au.D., audiologist, has served our Leavenworth Clinic patients, caring for their hearing healthcare needs, developing relationships with them, and becoming involved in the community through the Lions Club.
What you may not know though is that Dr. Paul is also a Major in the United States Army Reserves, an important role in which he serves our troops and our nation.
Like many people, Dr. Paul joined the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in college. It helped with the cost of his education and provided him with leadership training.
At the time, he wasn’t sure about his civilian career path, but during his first deployment to Iraq, he became interested in audiology. After returning home, he was accepted into the audiology program at the University of Kansas, even performing his externship with the practice.
Now he’s not only an audiologist, but he’s advanced to the rank of Major in the Reserves. In addition to his deployment to Iraq, during his 21-year military career, he’s been deployed to the Dominican Republic, and most recently to Ft. Hood, Texas.
The Ft. Hood Mission
Though Dr. Paul’s job with the Army Reserves is with the Medical Service Corps, it’s very different from the work he does as an audiologist.
At Ft. Hood, he served as the Office-in-Charge (OIC) of the 7406 Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) from November 2020 to December 2021. “As the officer in charge, I was in a planning and operations role, rather than providing hands-on care,” Dr. Paul explained.
The unit he was in charge of consisted of a diverse group of medical professionals which included combat medics, nurses, physicians, dentists and dental technicians, preventive medicine personnel, and even an audiologist. The unit’s mission was to provide primary and specialty healthcare services to soldiers who were mobilizing or demobilizing to or from overseas missions.
“At any one time, we had 2,000 to 3,000 troops moving through the base, coming and going from their missions,” Dr. Paul said. “Our job was to take care of any healthcare needs they had while with us.”
That included the unique requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, performing COVID-19 lab testing for soldiers and units who were traveling overseas, as well as managing the COVID-19 isolation barracks at North Ft. Hood.
“Like everyone, we faced the challenges of staffing during a pandemic,” Dr. Paul said. “Over the course of the year, we tested 25,000 soldiers for COVID and at any one time had 40 to 100 in isolation.”
During his deployment, Dr. Paul enjoyed tackling a new challenge, meeting people from all over the nation and leading a medical team focused on the troops’ needs. “I had wonderful colleagues on this mission, just like I have here. I was very fortunate,” Dr. Paul said.
He also enjoyed seeing a few familiar faces. “It’s a small world in the Army,” he added. “You sometimes run into people you met years ago, thousands of miles away.”
Home Sweet Home
As his team’s mission came to an end in December 2021, Dr. Paul said it was good to head back to his family, his home and his patients.
“I was very fortunate because I was here in the states and my wife, Courtney, daughter, Madeline, and dog, Hope, were able to come visit a few times,” Dr. Paul said. “Plus, technology made it much easier to stay in touch than in the past.”
But even technology can’t overcome the longing to be back home. “When I returned, it felt good to be back in Kansas, to sleep in my own bed, to drive down my own street and to be with my family, especially at the holidays.”
Now he’s back in the Leavenworth Clinic, reconnecting with his patients and looking forward to some new challenges with Associated Audiologists.
“I have always been interested in vestibular audiology, and after training, I’ll be assisting with those patients as needed,” he explained.
“I like that dizziness and balance problems require a different set of testing,” Dr. Paul said. “I enjoy the variety, and in some cases, we can treat a patient and help them immediately. That’s very rewarding.”
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Paul back home! To schedule an appointment with him in the Leavenworth Clinic, call 913-682-1870.