The way Brig. Gen. Keith W. Gallagher has the Europe Regional Medical Command handling civilian patients and their families is ridiculous.

"Space-available" patients have to call after 10 a.m. to schedule an appointment, but they never have anything available.

I have to call in sick to work to take care of myself or sick child, call in after the prescribed time, and hope that they can squeeze me in. This takes sick days I do not have. Meanwhile, someone is still being denied medical care. The local economy is not a viable option for me and I shouldn’t have to make expensive trips to the emergency room for medical problems that can be dealt with at the clinic.

There now is a registered nurse advice line, but what good does a nurse manning a line at a call center in Iowa do me when I need to book an appointment? If I wanted medical advice from someone other than a doctor, I would look on the Internet or check in with my mother-in-law.

I served honorably in the Marines; it seems in order for me to get quality medical care, I would have to go back in the military or my wife leave Department of Defense Dependents Schools. My family and I have been in Europe since 2004 and we have never had this much trouble getting access to quality medical care.

Mistreating civilians this way will result in a mass exodus of quality people in areas such as education, day care and community service who support warfighters and their families.

Erik MajorwitzBaumholder, Germany

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