Gotta give credit to Grinston’s office

| June 30, 2023

For once, I have to give due credit to SMA Grinston, or at least folks in his office

Imagine you’re married, both of you in the service. You’d think your medical needs, if not treated according to all the most up-to-date protocols, would be taken care of without you having to pay more for them than the normal years-out-of-your-life, right?  Well… not really.

Army Spc. Daysha Cartagena and her husband, Staff Sgt. Isaiah Cortez, were looking forward to the birth of their daughter in October 2021. The pregnancy hadn’t been easy; Cartagena’s legs and ankles were swollen, and her blood pressure had been erratic.

When she began feeling contractions, Cartagena went to Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, where she was examined and sent home, told she wasn’t ready yet to have her baby. She repeated the process two more times before finally returning to Womack, her contractions coming in painful waves seconds apart, the baby’s heartbeat plummeting with each squeeze. Again, she was told she wasn’t dilated enough to give birth, but by then, she was leaking brown, bloody fluid, and she was allowed to stay at the hospital.

It was the middle of the night, and Cartagena was given medication to move the process along. By 6 a.m., the doctors on call decided she needed an emergency Cesarean section. Three hours later, she had the surgery, but by then, her daughter’s heartbeat was faint, she was pale and barely breathing.

Love to say this kind of thing doesn’t happen, but in times when clinics are being shut down and military OB care is strained, problems happen. Not saying all the military OBs are weak, but let’s say historically I can cite MANY examples.

Cartagena’s daughter’s Apgar score — a health assessment of a baby at birth on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the goal — was 2.

The baby, Mya, was flown by civilian helicopter to WakeMed in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, a process in which a person’s blood is removed from their body, scrubbed free of carbon dioxide and then oxygenated and circulated back through.

Mya’s parents believe the problem was tied to the long labor and delayed C-section.

The baby was transferred to Duke Medical Center, where she spent two weeks on ECMO and six weeks total, hospitalized.

Then the bills came: $12,166.40 for the air ambulance; $61,634.80 from WakeMed; $594,564.88 from DukeHealth.

Coupla enlisted folks getting billed for over $600,000? Yeah, THAT’S going to end well.

We’ve been dealing with tricare [sic] for over a year trying to get them to pay the medical bills and they keep giving us the run around saying that it’s been resolved but a month later we’d get calls from billing telling me the authorizations have been denied,” Cortez posted. “Has anyone dealt with this before or know which avenues I can take?”

He received a slew of responses and upvotes, offering suggestions, advice and empathy.

And then one response, from Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston’s public affairs shop, wrote “Dm me.”

Cortez sent a direct message. And within hours, he said, “Magically everybody wants to help.”

Seems suddenly when a big gun is involved everyone starts paying attention. Well worth reading the article; there is a SERIOUS problem with pregnancy care in the military. We bring in high numbers of women, are not prepared for young, fertile female troops getting pregnant – maybe there is some logic to the whole LGBTQ recruiting effort. The lesbians are at least unlikely to get pregnant as fast.

H/t to Jeff!

Category: Army, Defense cuts, Government Incompetence, Health Care debate

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We had our own fun experience with military medicine and baby making. When we had Baby #2 the labor was taking a really long time and it was about 0100. So the doc went and put her headphones on and went to some empty room in the hospital without telling anyone where she was and took a nap. I fetched the maternity nurse at 0300 as the baby was coming, but there was no doc. They paged her numerous times but she was a no show and no one knew where she was.

So the intern, nurse and myself delivered the baby in the labor room. Wife was involved in the process too, mostly yelling and screaming in pain. It was the intern’s first one and he got to fly solo, so I was actually one up on him at the time. I don’t what would have happened if the nurse hadn’t of been there. She was the only one in the room that wasn’t scared to death and knew what she was doing and she was pretty pissed off about the whole thing too. I guess we got lucky there.

I totally told on the doc to the administration, I even wrote up a nice lengthy story in our post treatment survey, which I guess someone actually took the time to read. She ended up getting fired the next month. The story I heard was that she had been accumulating counseling statements without showing any improvement doing the same type stupid/ lazy shit over and over again. We were just one more straw in a very large pile.


About that time we had a spouse down the street die from placenta being left in. I was told it was a different doctor but I was always suspicious that she had a hand in it.


I had/have (5 years) nothing positive to say about FORT BRAGGS Womack hospital. I told my married troops in a family emergency go to local civilian hospital and get real help.


That’s gotta be one of the more “stripey” sleeves I’ve seen but
I gotta ask….is that the NDSM sticking out like a sore thumb?


If you mean the one on the top left, looks like a DMSM to me.


Lower left. Need better photo.


Doh! NOW I see it! Sheesh!


Here is the picture of the family.


Staff Sgt. Isaiah Cortez

Isaiah Cortez

* Radar Technician | Veteran | Secret clearance

* US Army

* Fayetteville Technical Community College

“As a Radar technician and system maintainer with over 9 years of years of experience, I have been involved in numerous electronics design and development projects. My expertise encompasses a wide range of skills, including performing intricate maintenance tasks on digital, RF, power, and cooling hardware associated with radars. To achieve this, I have utilized commercial manuals, OEM-supplied documentation, and computer-based diagnostic tools, ensuring that all aspects of the radars are operating at peak performance.”

Radar Technician
US Army
Jun 2014 – Present9 years 1 month

Fort bragg, NC

⁃ Developed and maintained highly effective mission plans, enabling the leadership of enlisted soldiers and driving successful outcomes.

⁃ Conducted detailed location selection to ensure optimal equipment utilization and the safety of personnel, while demonstrating exceptional risk management skills.

* Delivered rapid deployment and maintenance of critical systems such as the AN/TPQ-36, AN/TPQ-50, AN/TPQ-53, and IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems for the US Military, ensuring the swift and effective execution of military operation

⁃ Conducted advanced maintenance operations on faulty equipment, leveraging technical schematics and deep knowledge of electronic unit systems to restore full functionality and ensure smooth operations.

20527 (1).jpeg

If the SMA had to intervene in this, Womack needs a command purge starting right at the top. Follow up by a serious interrogation (not investigation, I’m talking waterboarding) of the entire chain of command, starting with platoon leaders. After that, public floggings of each and every NCO that failed these two. And we wonder why we have recruiting and retention problems.


Beat me to it!

It’s a stain on the NCO Corps that it took the SMA actual to solve this problem.


Good on the SMA for knocking this out for this family.

But, where the fuck was the rest of the NCO chain on this?

Dad’s a SSG, so his PSG couldn’t fucking block some people in doorways until his troop’s problem got fixed?


“But, where the fuck was the rest of the NCO chain on this?”

Counseling their troops on proper pronoun usage? 😜 


This! Between this trooper and the SMA is a Platoon Sgt, a First Sergeant, a BN, BDE, DIV, Corps, and FORSCOM CSM and multiple side chains in MEDDAC, Garrison, etc.

Not one of these NCOs could bother to be involved in this?

He had to go to social media and ask the wind?

I would be holding Tribunals on my NCOs…omg…the whole world would have known how effing pissed I was at my NCOs…

And what about the Chain of Command? All of those NCOs work for officers. WTF were they doing?

Now I’m all pissed and going to berate some peers who are still serving. I’m betting this happens everywhere. I’m also betting that if this had been some elective surgery it would not have happened.


Doctors are officers, hospital administrators are officers, and all of them are in a different branch and chain of command. You friendly local PSG, 1SGT, or even SMAJ isn’t going to accomplish much.

A Proud Infidel®™

Said CoC and NCO Chain were likely out addressing things the Five-sided Asylum considers more important, like accommodating “TG’s”, SHARP training, Diversity Training, … in order to kiss up to higher-up!


Somebodies gots some ‘splainin’ to do…a BUNCH of somebodies!


Hate to say it, but “you get what you pay for”. “Free” medical care from folks that cannot be sued or otherwise bothered by the recipients has a price. Same-same VA.


Not just ObGyn. I’m glad I never had any major medical issues on AD.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.