Local physician plays support role at McCain services

September 4, 2018

BULLHEAD CITY — Rick (Jerold) Morgan, a physician from Bullhead City, provided medical support Friday during the lying-in state of U.S. Sen. John McCain in the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.

McCain, a former U.S. Navy officer who was injured, beaten and tortured while being held by the North Vietnamese for 51/2 years in Hoa Lo prison, later served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and five terms in the U.S. senator representing Arizona. He died from brain cancer on Aug. 25. He was buried Sunday in a private service on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Morgan, who specializes in family medicine, wound care physical medicine and rehabilitation, is a member of the National Disaster Medical System’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

NDMS personnel and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers were on hand to provide advanced life support and basic medical care to anyone among the thousands of people who came to pay their respects to McCain.

“Typically at events like this we see people who have minor cuts or sprains or other non-life threatening injuries/illness,” said Ron Miller, acting director of NDMS, in a prepared statement. “However, we also have provided initial life-saving care for more serious injuries or illnesses and stabilized patients for transportation by DC Fire/EMS to a local hospital.”

NDMS teams consist of physicians, nurses, paramedics, fatality management professionals, and experienced command and control staff. There are more than 6,000 members who compose 70 response teams. They provide medical care during emergencies and special events, such as McCain’s lying-in state, because such large events can overwhelm local and state resources. ASPR looks to the expertise from NDMS and the Public Health Service professionals across the country to assist in this effort.

NDMS, a federally administered program, can support communities with medical care, veterinarian care, and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies. NDMS also works behind the scenes at some of the nation’s biggest events, often at the request of the Office of the Attending Physician and the U.S. Capitol Police.

On Saturday, there was a procession for McCain that passed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, followed by a funeral service at Washington National Cathedral. His casket laid in state in the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix building before being moved to the nation’s capital.

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