Navy career enforced PVHS graduate’s dream to become a physician

Benjamin McIntosh during his time as a Navy Corpsman. (submitted photo)

Benjamin McIntosh during his time as a Navy Corpsman. (submitted photo)

The White Coat Ceremony marks the first time a medical student will don his or her white coat, the defining symbol of a physician.

The coat bestows a great honor on each student and with it comes a responsibility to uphold the trust of each and every patient they will encounter. The class of 2020 received their white coats on July 15 this year.

Before venturing off to college and medical school, Paradise Valley High School graduate and first-year medical student Benjamin McIntosh spent six years as a U.S. Navy Corpsman, where he served on the line with infantry and provided care to his platoon. During his service, McIntosh deployed twice to Iraq and was awarded various medals including the Purple Heart.

After being honorably discharged, McIntosh attended the University of Arizona where he graduated in 2015 with a degree in Physiology.

Benjamin McIntosh

Benjamin McIntosh

When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?

Being a Corpsman was my way to find out for sure that medicine was a career I wanted to pursue and it turns out that I loved it. The Navy really solidified my desire to become a physician.

The legacy I want to leave as a physician is to be a pioneer in taking back the profession of medicine from the bureaucrats and restoring it back to the doctors.

Tell me more about your service in the Navy.

I joined the Navy in 2004 to be a Line Corpsman for infantry Marines in order to see if medicine was a career I wanted to pursue.

A Corpsman assists health care professionals in providing medical care to Naval personnel. I went through about one year of training to become a Corpsman. I was then assigned to the 3rd Battalion 7th Marines (3/7), which is an infantry unit based in 29 Palms, California.

With 3/7, I deployed twice to Ramadi, Iraq; each deployment was seven months.

After my service with 3/7, I was selected to be an instructor at Field Medical Training Battalion, where I taught battlefield care to Corpsman who were about to be assigned to Marine Corps units and deployed overseas. I was honorably discharged in July 2010.

My experience as a Navy Corpsman will help with leadership and help me maintain a high passion and drive to improve patient-centered care. My experiences have also taught me how precious life is, which motivates me to reach out and improve the quality of lives of others.

What would you like to share about receiving the Purple Heart?

I received the Purple Heart on Oct. 18, 2015. These are always hard to discuss, not so much because of the scariness, but more so that being attacked by the enemy was such a common occurrence that this event doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I was very fortunate to walk away from being ‘blown up’ in the condition I was in, but many others were hit much harder than me and weren’t able to live out the same life.

Ben and the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Interim Dean Kenneth Ramos, MD, PhD. The photo was taken at the College’s White Coat Ceremony on Friday, July 15. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous)

Ben and the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Interim Dean Kenneth Ramos, MD, PhD. The photo was taken at the College’s White Coat Ceremony on Friday, July 15. (Photo by Sun Czar Belous)

What are you most excited about in medical school?

I am excited to learn something 100 percent applicable to my future profession. The college has a supportive, friendly and nurturing environment, which is one of the reasons why I decided to attend the college. I am happy to be here and to learn and explore the Phoenix area with my fellow classmates.”

If you were a fictional doctor, who would it be?

I would be Marcus Welby from the 1970s television show, “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” because he not only was a physician, but he was a mentor to his patients. He’d offer advice, and be a friend while taking care of them at the same time.

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