Combat Injuries Get Fast Response by Orthopaedic Surgeons

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Combat Injuries Get Fast Response by Orthopaedic Surgeons

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | April 02, 2009
* Improved training of corpsmen and medics in treating traumatic injuries.

Another military innovation is the practice of moving casualties through a string of medical facilities with increasing expertise. Damage control orthopaedics, such as rapid amputation and fracture stabilization, is being done at the far-forward field hospital before the wounded service member is transported for systemic stabilization with blood and fluids to an ICU-equipped facility. A service member is transported from the field to a more advanced facility for additional surgery in Germany within 12 to 48 hours and eventually to the United States for rehabilitation. During the Vietnam War, this transport took an average of 45 days, Dr. Covey says.

He notes that the rapid helicopter transport that began in Korea and improved in Vietnam allowed for much greater success in the earlier repair of extremity vascular injuries compared with the methods of World War II.

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Source: The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), www.ejbjs.org

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