ARLINGTON - Arlington physician Paul Phillips III says being one of a team of doctors to treat Iraq POW Jessica Lynch was as important as treating hundreds of other soldiers.
"Everyone deserves the same recognition," Phillips said. "There were some who lost limbs, sight and had other disfiguring injuries."
Phillips will be honored on the Medical Center of Arlington Auxiliary float during today's Fourth of July parade. The float will be one of about 150 entries in this year's 39th annual Fourth of July Parade.
"He's well-liked because he has a wonderful personality and is great to everyone he meets," said Rose Marie Romano, a volunteer at the surgery waiting room at Medical Center of Arlington. "He's a laid-back person, but he does a fabulous job."
Phillips has maintained his Arlington practice while keeping his commitment to the Army Reserve. Reservists typically report once a month and once for two weeks during the year, but that role has changed during the past several years.
Phillips has been called to active duty three times during the past two years, twice as a physician at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and recently at Baghdad hospital in Iraq.
"This is my opportunity to give back," Phillips said. "I've been able to care for the people who keep us safe."
At the Landstuhl hospital, where he treated Lynch, soldiers are flown in from the battlefield and stabilized for the long trip home to the United States.
Phillips has also been sent to Baghdad, where he served near the front line. There, he washed out open wounds, repaired ligaments and stabilized fractured bones so that the troops could be sent to Landstuhl for further treatment.
"These were the patients that were brought in straight from the sand and had some pretty bad injuries," Phillips said. He added that he tended to all patients, regardless of which side they were on.
Phillips, born in Fredericksburg, graduated from Southwest Texas State University, where he achieved honors on the football field and in the classroom.
He later attended medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Phillips comes from a long line of doctors, who include a grandfather who was a self-taught veterinarian and a father who graduated from the Tuskegee Institute Veterinarian School in Alabama. Phillips is married to an emergency room physician.
He recently moved into his south Arlington office, where he is part of Arlington Orthopedic Associates, which is run by a group of orthopedic surgeons and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.
Phillips credits the Army Reserve with helping him gain valuable experience that he couldn't get in his private practice.
"You can't go into that environment unchanged, whether it's the worst or best," Phillips said of his time in Germany and Iraq. "For me, it was one of the best."