Recent years have seen U.S. military reinventing trauma care
Arthur Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H., from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues write about the U.S. military's transformation of trauma care experienced over the past 17 years, which included more than 27 major innovations.
The authors note that the transformation has resulted in a decline in death and disability rates. The Department of Defense identified, prioritized, and funded high-impact combat casualty research. Redesigned tourniquets were supplied to front-line soldiers and marines to help them stop bleeding more quickly and effectively. To resuscitate critically injured warriors using blood products and damage control surgery, surgical teams were positioned far forward, deferring definitive repairs until later. MEDEVAC helicopter crews were trained to provide advanced life support, supplemented with en route critical care nurses to transport severely injured casualties. Returning transport aircrafts were transformed into flying intensive care units staffed by specially trained critical care air transport teams, allowing rapid evacuation. Once back home, these wounded troops received multiple surgeries and early and skilled rehabilitative care, assisted by new technologies.
"The past two decades of progress in military medicine also offer an important lesson for the U.S. people—that our nation can, in fact, change its approach to health care," the authors write.
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