Dr. Anthony Brothers Applies Military Medicine Experience to Local Orthopedic Care
Dr. Anthony Brothers has spent almost his entire life involved with the military. His father was a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Dr. Brothers served 24 years in the Air Force, was deployed to Afghanistan twice and received two Army Commendation Medals. During his undergraduate studies while attending the University of California San Diego (UCSD), his father handed him an issue of Parade Magazine that had an article about a military medical school that provided students a second lieutenant’s salary and covered tuition and books in exchange for a seven-year active duty service commitment. The school was the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland.
“At USU, you not only received your medical training, but you obtained training specifically geared towards the needs of military personnel” said Dr. Brothers. “I spent one year training as a general surgeon and then I served three years as a flight surgeon.”
During his three years as a flight surgeon, Dr. Brothers took care of USAF pilots and their families. While serving as a flight surgeon, Dr. Brothers had the unique opportunity to fly in the F-16 Fighting Falcon as well as the F-111 Aardvark.
“The Air Force wanted flight surgeons to understand what the pilots’ physiology was – what stresses they underwent so we could take better care of them,” said Brothers. “I learned what stresses the pilots underwent both mentally during flight preparation as well as physically with g-force acceleration in flight. The time in the air was also crucial to build trust and comradery with the pilots as a health care provider.”
The USAF provided Dr. Brothers with a scholarship to continue his medical education as an orthopedic resident at his alma matter, UCSD, where he completed his training in 2003 before his assignment as an orthopedic surgeon at Eglin Air Force Base. There he served as both chief of orthopedics as well as chief of surgery, before retiring from the military in 2014, and planting his roots permanently in the Northwest Florida community. During his 11 years at Eglin Air Force Base, Dr. Brothers deployed twice to Afghanistan. The first time was as an orthopedic surgeon. The second deployment was as the chief of the surgical services in addition to his duties as one of two orthopedic surgeons assigned to Bagram Air Station. While in Afghanistan, Dr. Brothers provided medical care to a wide array of military units including Air Force pilots, combat controllers, Navy Seals, Marines, Air Force and Army special operators.
“All of these highly trained individuals have huge fitness requirements to be able to deploy and do the things they need to do,” said Dr. Brothers. “It was vital to the military mission to provide high quality orthopedic care to allow our soldiers and airmen to be able to return to performing their duties to the highest level.”
One of the most important tasks that Dr. Brothers had to establish was earning soldiers’ trust to make sure they knew that he would to do everything he could to allow them to return to their units.
“When soldiers were hurt or injured, they were more worried about getting back to their units than they were worried about themselves,” said Brothers. “That mentality was just something you didn’t see in everyday life.”
While Dr. Brothers spent the majority of his medial profession taking care of elite members of the United States Armed Forces, now retired from the military, he focuses on providing that same level of care to the community members in Okaloosa and Walton counties.
“Everyone has a different level that they want to get back to after sustaining an injury,” he said. “A patient with an arthritic knee may simply want to get back to walking and performing every day activities without pain. To that patient, this is an important as the Navy Seal wanting to get back to his team after injury. The desire to get better and back to being active is similar. The end goal is just a little different. It’s all about understanding the individual needs of the patient.”
Dr. Brothers joined Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in 2019, and will be providing access for orthopedic and sports medicine care for patients in Okaloosa and Walton counties as an Andrews Institute provider. To learn more about Dr. Brothers or to schedule an appointment, please visit Andrews Institute.com or call 850.916.8700.
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