Aca­demic to prove his prow­ess on the bat­tle­field

Townsville Bulletin - - News - Alexis Gil­lam

HIS day job usu­ally takes place in the of­fice but James Cook Univer­sity sci­en­tist Prof Ge­of­frey Dob­son is hop­ing to prove his skills on the bat­tle­field.

The Townsville aca­demic h a s b e e n a s k e d t o t e l l NATO’s top med­i­cal ad­vis­ers about his l i f e-sav­ing re­search.

H e w i l l s p e a k a b o u t ‘ ‘ E me r g i n g r e s e a r c h i n trauma care’’ at the Al­lied Com­mand Op­er­a­tions con­fer­ence in Madrid this week.

NATO’s fun­da­men­tal role is to safe­guard the free­dom and se­cu­rity of its mem­ber coun­tries by po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary means, and Prof Dob­son has de­vel­oped a so­lu­tion to res­cue and sta­bilise the heart fol­low­ing mas­sive blood loss and shock.

‘‘ On the bat­tle­field, cat­a­strophic haemorrhage is the lead­ing cause of pre­ventable death,’’ Prof Dob­son said.

‘‘ In com­bat sit­u­a­tions, up to 50 per cent of deaths oc­cur from blood loss, and 25 per cent of these may be sal­vage­able.

‘‘ The huge prob­lem fac­ing mil­i­tary med­i­cal op­er­a­tions is that the ma­jor­ity of com­bat deaths – up to 90 per cent – oc­cur within the first hour af­ter the ini­tial in­jury.

‘‘ The lab­o­ra­tory re­sults are so dra­matic that if we can trans­late our find­ings on to the bat­tle­field and save a sol­dier’s life, then we have an obli­ga­tion to do so.’’

Prof Dob­son said the new en­emy was time and ev­ery sec­ond counted.

At the NATO con­fer­ence, Prof Dob­son will also present his lab­o­ra­tory’s more re­cent find­ings on plac­ing a rat in ‘‘ sus­pended an­i­ma­tion’’ or a ‘‘ hi­ber­nat­ing-like’’ state for a fi­nite time with full and spon­ta­neous re­cov­ery of car­diac func­tion.

Prof Dob­son said when an em­i­nent car­dio­tho­racic sur­geon at Emory saw this for the first time, he de­scribed it as amaz­ing.

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