Translating Medicine from Civilian Life to the War Zone and Back Again.

I recently viewed a PBS documentary tv show called ‘Battlefield Medicine’ from the BBC hosted by a UK doctor from the UK’s NHS to see what is going on in wartime medicine that might be helpful back home in the UK.  He travelled all thje way to a medical base in Afganistan to see first hand of how doctors there save the lives of wounded soldiers.  I noticed that there are some new methods and technologies being used to help reduce the death rate of soldiers suffering from some horrific trauma injuries from gunshot, shrapnel and IED explosions.

Injured soldiers can bleed out 5 litres of blood in 5 minutes.

Solution: comrades in the field are trained to use nylon tourniquets that they all carry to stop bleed outs from arm and leg wounds. The do so in the 1st 10
mins. after a soldier is wounded.

Solution: airlift helicopter now comes with a Dr and nurse on board are prepared for incoming injured soldiers, they can do  in-air surgury, transfusions, etc. Special blood infusion technology devices was created to infuse blood into shoulder bone and or sternum in chest.

Solution: At trauma hospital ER, bleeding patients are given a 50-50 mix of whole blood and plasma rather than just whole blood because more plasma is needed to make clots faster to stop bleeding. Localized pain drip meds target nerve via catheter that connect to injured area rather than treat whole body with morphine.

The Dr traveled to the USA to an Atlanta hospital ER to learn about a clinical trial that uses progesterone to increase blood flow in patient brains that suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Rat studies showed that brain damaged rats given progesterone had less dead tissue areas than brains of untreated rats (controls).

The Dr traveled to a Pittsburg med. center and learned that ER is using extreme cold water (saline) infusion (10 deg C) to put patient in coma-like condition for nearly 1 hr (rather than 5 mins.). This procedure suspends activity in brain and heart while surgeons work in patients trauma issues. When stabilized, patients blood is re-infused to bring back body temp to normal range.
The UK Dr. concluded that advances in civilian trauma medicine often is used in military medicine but is modified to fit the field hospital situation.
Knowledge gained from the military applications can often be used in civilian trauma medical applications.  The UK Dr working with the UK NHS hopes to see
some of the military trauma procedures and technologies that he has seen would someday help save more lives in the civilian trauma ER situations such as car crash victims.

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