Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Frank K. Butler, Jr., MD, FAAO, FUHM, was bestowed the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award at the virtual Clinical Congress 2020 Convocation Sunday, October 4. This award recognizes Dr. Butler’s outstanding contributions to the field of surgery during his military service, specifically the adoption of Tactical Combat Casualty Care—the best-practice guideline for providing battlefield trauma care now being followed by U.S. and international civilian readiness teams around the world.
According to the award citation, Dr. Butler’s “forward-thinking to train and equip every soldier with personal medical kits redefined battlefield surgical management by delivering critical medical care at the point of injury and saving thousands of lives.” This groundbreaking initiative, which reduced the delivery time of medical aid administered to critically ill patients, is the cornerstone of the College’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).As a founding member of the Hartford Consensus, Dr. Butler’s extensive knowledge base and contributions to the literature directly supported the implementation of this project and the STOP THE BLEED® initiative, both in the U.S. and abroad. The award citation underscores Dr. Butler’s “superb leadership as a founding member of this joint task force that successfully created national policy to enhance survivability from mass casualty situations.”
A career in service
Dr. Butler, an ophthalmologist for the Naval Hospital, Pensacola, FL, is Chair, DoD Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Joint Trauma System, Washington, DC. He also co-chairs the decompression sickness and arterial gas embolism treatment committee for the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. As director of the SEAL Biomedical Research Program for 15 years, he has led landmark projects, including programs to promote refractive surgery in the military, the Naval Special Warfare decompression computer, and Tactical Combat Casualty Care.
Dr. Butler is adjunct professor of military and emergency medicine, F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD. Previously, Dr. Butler was Command Surgeon, U.S. Special Operations Command (2004–2006); editor, Journal of Special Operations Medicine (2004–2006); and Chair, U.S. Special Operations Command Biomedical Initiatives Steering Committee (1996 –1998; 2004–2006). He served as a surgeon through the Joint Task Force Five in Afghanistan in 2003 and as Biomedical Research Director for Naval Special Warfare Command (1990–2004). He also served as Chief of Ophthalmology, Naval Hospital Pensacola (1989–1994).After attending the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, in 1980, Dr. Butler interned in family practice, Navy Regional Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL (1980–1981). He completed his ophthalmology residency at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, and served as chief resident, Undersea Medical Officer Training, Navy Undersea Medical Institute, Groton, CT.
Dr. Butler holds membership in many professional medical societies. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and is a member of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Special Operations Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S., American Medical Association, and Wilderness Medical Society.
Dr. Butler has lent his expertise to evaluating articles in several esteemed medical journals including the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Survey of Ophthalmology, Journal of Special Operations Medicine, Surgery, Retina, and other publications.
The Distinguished Lifetime Military Contribution Award was established by the ACS Board of Regents Honors Committee in 2018 to recognize a physician’s distinguished contributions to the advancement of military surgery. Recipients of this award must be physicians with a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of military surgical care but are not required to be in active practice. The Honors Committee receives input from the ACS Military Health System Strategic Partnership, USUHS, DoD, the College’s Committee on Trauma, and ACS members when selecting a recipient.
The inaugural recipient of this award was retired U.S. Army Col. Norman M. Rich, MD, FACS, DMCC, MC, who received the honor at Clinical Congress 2019, San Francisco, CA.