MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- It’s human nature to care for one another, but some dedicate their lives to the well-being of others.
Navy Capt. David A. Lane, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, is described as a kind person with a passion for caring for others.
“My parents were caring, kind-hearted people, and I learned through them,” said Lane. “They would always help others, however they could.”
Lane grew up in the city of Orlando, Fla., but at the age of 12 moved to a rural area near Orlando. There, he tended to horses, cattle and fowl and learned about work ethics. In junior high and high school, Lane mostly worked on farm chores after school.
“Like most kids in high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Lane. “I wasn’t focused on any particular career field.”
Lane’s interest in medicine sparked when he started working at a drug store at the age of 16. He worked as a clerk at the store, and when the pharmacy clerk was on break, Lane would fill in. There he learned from the pharmacist and discovered the satisfaction of caring for others.
“Helping others is very rewarding,” said Lane. “There are many ways to help your fellow man.”
Lane earned a scholarship through the drugstore company, which provided him the opportunity to earn a degree in pharmaceutics.
He visited the University of Florida and determined college was not the best decision at the time. On the drive back from the visit, he stopped to visit armed forces recruiters, to see if it was a better fit.
Lane decided to join the military for travel and adventure, education benefits and to see if a career in healthcare was his true calling in life.
With a job in healthcare in mind, Lane spoke to recruiters from each branch, he said. The Navy seemed to have the most knowledge in medicine and influenced Lane to enlist in 1975.
“I wanted to see if healthcare was something I wanted to do, and becoming a Navy corpsman seemed like the best way to see a broad spectrum of healthcare,” said Lane.
After two years as a hospital corpsman, Lane went through a career development board in hopes of continuing his career in medicine.
“The look of appreciation from a patient who might not be able to speak, or the warm handshake or hug from the patient or family member, it’s kind of like adrenaline and you want more,” said Lane.
Lane said he originally planned on going through the Navy Enlisted Nurse Education Program, but it was later cancelled. He then shifted his focus from nursing to medicine.
Due to Lane’s high test scores, he was qualified for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He attended the academy in 1977 and graduated in 1981.
Lane was unable to attend medical school directly after the Naval Academy due to program cuts, so he was designated as a Naval Flight Officer.
Lane attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla., then went on to Whidbey Island, Wash., to learn how to fly EA-6B Prowlers.
Lane served as a Naval Flight Officer for six years before continuing a career in medicine. Soon after serving as a Naval Flight Officer, Lane attended medical school.
“It was a difficult choice to leave flying,” said Lane. “I really like flying, and I was getting good feedback from my commanders, but I wanted to become a doctor.”
Lane earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. While in medical school, Lane’s classmates convinced him to run for class president.
“Leading the class as the president set the wheels in motion for me to become a commander of a hospital,” said Lane.
Lane took command of Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune in 2012, and his passion of caring for others continues to show.
“I enjoy making rounds through the hospital to see how patients and staff are doing, said Lane. “I want to seek the needs of staff to ultimately benefit the patients.”
As Lane progressed further in his career, he became responsible not just for patients, but staff as well.
“There are times when I miss taking care of a lot of patients, I felt like I got good vibrations and feedback,” said Lane. “But as I got more senior in rank, the focus shifted to the people around me.”
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune is home to 2,400 staff members. The staff in turn cares for 600,000 patients per year.
“His focus on other people transfers over to his leadership and how he interacts with those privileged to be in his charge,” said NHCL Command Master Chief Petty Officer Ed Moreno. “He has a unique ability to provide logical, systematic approach while keeping the human element in balance. He is the kind of commanding officer every sailor wants to be led by.”
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