Med­i­cal teams sav­ing more troops; KIA rate half of WWII

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Rowan Scar­bor­ough

The killed-in-ac­tion rate in the Iraq-Afghanistan­war­sishalfwhatit was in World War II and a third less than Viet­nam and Desert Storm, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­nal Pen­tagon doc­u­ments that say bat­tle­field med­i­cal teams are do­ing a bet­ter job of sta­bi­liz­ingth­e­woundedand­get­tingthem to doc­tors.

“We have bet­ter bat­tle­field medicine,”Dr.Wil­liamWinken­werderJr., as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fense for health af­fairs, told The Wash­ing­ton TimesonJan.4.“Wear­ere­vivin­gand re­sus­ci­tat­ing many, many more of our sol­diers who would have died in pre­vi­ous con­flicts.”

The im­prove­ment may be lit­tle so­lace­tothe­fam­i­liesoft­heAmer­i­can troops who have died or been se­ri­ously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.ThePen­tagon,how­ever, saysithasputin­placeafirst-ratesys­tem for sav­ing life — and limb.

The brief­ing pa­pers show the killed-in-ac­tion­rateis12.5per­cent­for the­cur­rent­warscom­pared­with25.3 per­cent for World War II and 18.6 per­cent for Viet­nam/Desert Storm. Dr. Winken­werder, a trained in­ternist, said the rate is based on the num­ber of com­bat­ants who died of wounds­be­for­ereachin­ga­treat­ment cen­ter.He­saidthe­s­tandard­has­been the same for each war.

Dr. Winken­werder ticked off a num­ber of im­prove­ments. Medics now carry re­sus­ci­ta­tion gear. Each sol­dier and Marine, not just medics and Navy hospi­tal corps­men, are is­sued tourni­quets to stop bleed­ing.

“We had anec­do­tal re­ports of ser- vice mem­bers who died, un­for­tu­nately, be­cause there was no tourni­quet avail­able un­til the medic got there,” he said.

Med­i­cal teams have also worked onar­rivin­gatthesce­ne­ofin­juries,in most cases caused by a road­side im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice (IED).

“It used to be the ‘golden hour,’ “ he said. “Now we are try­ing to get down to the ‘plat­inum 15’ be­cause what kills so many peo­ple is hem­or­rhage, mas­sive hem­or­rhage.”

Newwaysoft­reat­ingth­e­wounded emerged­with­the­cre­ation­in2003of the Joint Theater Trauma Sys­tem (JTTS). It in­volves a con­stant “lessons learned” data anal­y­sis de­signed to come up with bet­ter tac­ti­cal medicine

Un­til JTTS, for ex­am­ple, doc­tors were some­times miss­ing foot­ball­typecon­cus­sion­stha­toc­cur­in­troops im­pacted by an IED.

Dr. Winken­werder said the “few thou­sand”med­i­calper­son­nelinIraq is­thes­mall­estin­re­cent­wars­be­cause many wounded and dis­eased per­son­nelare­flownout­ofthe­coun­tryto hos­pi­tals in Ger­many and the U.S.

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