Transforming US Army trauma care: an evidence-based review of the trauma literature
From: U.S. Army Medical Department Journal
Publisher: U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School
Document Type: Article
Length: 9,715 words
The US Army has been charged to transform to meet the demands of current and anticipated near-future combat needs, covering a full spectrum of military operations. The US Army combat trauma care system was created to deliver combat casualty care in a variety of situations and has been adapted to meet the needs of such care in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Questions related to our current system include the use and positioning of medical evacuation assets, the type of training for our trauma care providers, the positioning of these providers in proximity to the battlefield, and the type of units most suited to the wide variety of medical operations required of today's military medical team. The review was performed to evaluate available information in light of anticipated future needs to ensure preparedness. We reviewed trauma literature regarding the areas of civilian trauma systems, military trauma systems, presurgical trauma care, medical evacuation times, and the medical evacuation system. Among the conclusions drawn from the reviewed data include the following: regional trauma systems improve outcomes in significantly-injured patients; rural trauma care as part of a trauma system yields improved results compared to nontrauma hospitals and comparable results to those at a higher level center; and delivery of advanced trauma life support care has the potential to extend the period of time of safe medical evacuation to surgical capabilities. These lessons are used to discuss components of an improved system of trauma care, flexible for the varied needs of modern battlefield trauma and adaptable to provide support for anticipated future conflicts.