SAN DIEGO, Calif. –
During some medical crises a healthcare professional may also end up being a patient at the facility that they serve at. For Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Chief Hospital Corpsman Charlene Green, that is exactly what transpired for her during the recent holiday period.
Green, who serves as one of NMCSD’s Laboratory Department divisional leading chief petty officers, and who is a native from Brooklyn, New York, oversees all aspects of operation of the hospital’s advanced laboratory department — to include its blood related divisions.
The daughter of an assistant head nurse at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, Green recalls her earliest memories of attending the medical facility’s 'Take Your Daughter to Work Day' as a solidifying event that inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.
That 12-year-old child has since become a Navy Corpsman laboratory technician.
“It was Christmas eve and I was doing some last minute shopping when I noticed that I had difficulty in sustaining my normal pace of walking with a corresponding increased heart rate, which made me take a seat,” said Green. “In no time I was checking-in at NMCSD’s ED (emergency department) where I was taken care of by the absolute best in the business.”
As part of her care, Green was evaluated to determine the cause of her illness. Among the panel of laboratory tests, it was discovered that Green’s hemoglobin level was critically low.
“Let me begin by saying that I was pleased to discover that it wasn’t a serious cardiovascular concern like a stroke or heart attack,” affirms Green. “My immediate treatment was the transfusion of three units of blood. As I was receiving the second unit I was already starting to feel better.”
Coincidentally, Green is in charge of overseeing NMCSD’s Blood Donor Center that in 2023 provided more than 1,000 transfusions.
Green never anticipated being in a situation that would make her the recipient of the same blood that she helps process for NMCSD’s blood collection efforts.
“My medical scare truly brought front and center the importance of raising awareness and recruitment for blood collection not only for our fighting force, but also for beneficiaries and Sailors ashore because when you need blood, YOU NEED IT,” exclaimed Green. “I gladly share my story to instill in everyone I talk to about the vital opportunity that presents us all — and that is the opportunity to donate blood whenever you possibly can, because you never know, it may very well be the gift bestowed upon you by someone else who was willing to do so.”
NMCSD -- lesser known for its potent medical research capabilities -- is at the forefront of battlefield blood transfusion studies.
“With our primary mission of supporting the warfighter, we are closely looking at studies that improve the speed of transferring and administering blood in the battlefield,” explains Lt. Rory Wagner, NMCSD Emergency Medicine resident, and a Pasadena, Calif., native. “We remain committed to the advancement of medical research that save lives in the battlefield and at an MTF [medical treatment facility] as we are a research facility always on the cusp of further medical enlightenment.”
Green’s medical condition is one that with proper medical care should be under control indefinitely.
“Any time you head into an ED and you’re able to leave on your own cognition is a story with a positive ending for the most part,” says Green. “If nothing more, my 'take aways' are to always stay on top of your medical needs, offer others a fighting chance whenever/wherever you’re able to do so, and trust your medical gut feeling. If something is off, do not procrastinate.”
NMCSD’s Blood Donor Center is located on the main facility, building two, first floor. They are open Monday through Friday, 07:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. You may reach them at 619-532-6650.
NMCSD continuously seeks professional civilian talent, not just limited to health care providers and administrative support. For anyone seeking a federal job, visit USAJobs at usajobs.gov - the Federal Government's official employment site.
The mission of NMCSD is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training, and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active-duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.