Lieutenant Eric W Inge, Medical Corps, United States Navy 20 August 1979-13 February 2010
Creator, Father who first breathed
In us the life that we received
By thy power of thy breath restore
The ill, and men with wounds of war
Bless those who give their healing care,
That life and laughter all may share
From the Navy Hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save
Today the Staff of Naval Medical Center remembered the life and work of a shipmate, colleague and friend. LT Eric Inge passed away last week from apparently natural causes. Eric was a junior resident our Psychiatry residency program and I had the pleasure of working with him and spending time in class as well as doing some PT with him. Back in December we took a PT test together. Though he was quiet we often talked to each other and he had a good heart, sharp wit and obviously cared for people and wanted to do his best to serve our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and their family members that he saw in clinic or on the floor.
He was quiet, unassuming and did not draw attention to himself. He was remembered today as a friend, a committed physician who could always be found working with his patients and who was a very good psychiatrist even though he was still early in his residency.
He was born at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver on August 20th 1979. He graduated with distinction from Duke University earning a degree in Biomedical Engineering. He worked in that field and then attended medical school at the University of South Florida where he graduated with his MD in 2005. He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University in 2006 and entered a Neurology program that he withdrew from realizing that his passion in medicine lay in Psychiatry. Passing up numerous civilian residency programs he entered the Navy and was accepted into the Psychiatry internship program from which he matriculated in June of 2009 and then began his residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. He served his patients, his shipmates and his country well. He is typical of so many of our young Naval Physicians and other professionals in Navy Medicine. Eric will be missed by his friends, colleagues and the patients that he served so well. Please remember his mother and father, Elsa and Kenneth Inge and sister Tina in your prayers.
His death came as another blow to a department that has lost two other staff members in the past 7 months and to a medical center that has said goodbye to far too many shipmates in the past year. Additionally we have hundreds of our staff deployed in harms way in Afghanistan where they are actively treating US and NATO soldiers and Afghan civilians in places like Khadahar, Camp Bastion and Bagram as well as many places too small to register in this country. Others serve in Iraq, the broader Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Many were shipped out with only hours notice to deploy on the USNS Comfort to care for victims of the cataclysmic destruction in Haiti, which many veteran and even senior staff who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan find more horrifying than anything that they experienced in combat. While all of these professionals deploy the staff here picks up the load. Unlike units that rotate in and out of combat to be rested and refreshed these proud and selfless men and women of Navy Medicine go into the fight or into places of cataclysmic devastation and then return to carry on with the mission of caring for our Navy and broader military family at home.
Please keep all of these professionals, caregivers all in your prayers as they serve with dedication and distinction all over the world and even now mourn the death of one of their own. I do not pretent to understand why young people like Eric die, I trust God yes, but I wonder sometimes and ask the question which has no answer “why?” I will miss Eric and trust that his soul and the souls of all the departed will rest in peace.