The OFFICIAL Journal of the Special Operations Medical Association.
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Overhauling how citizens and medical providers respond to trauma, as well as how they collect and store blood, could save thousands of lives annually.
April 2020 Feature Article
Introduction: Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) recommends life-saving interventions; however, these interventions can only be implemented if military prehospital providers carry the necessary equipment to the injured casualty. Combat medics primarily use aid bags to transport medical materiels forward on the battlefield. We seek to assess combat medic materiel preparedness to employ TCCC-recommended interventions by inventorying active duty, combat medic aid bags. Methods: We sought combat medics organic to combat arms units stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Medics volunteered to complete a demographic worksheet and have the contents of their aid bag photographed and inventoried. We spoke with medic unit leadership prior to their participation and asked that the medics bring their aid bags in the way they would pack for a combat mission. We categorized medic aid bag contents in the following manner: (1) hemorrhage control; (2) airway management; (3) pneumothorax treatment, or (4) volume resuscitation. We compared the items found in the aid bags against the contemporary TCCC guidelines. Results: In January 2019, we prospectively inventoried 44 combat medic aid bags. Most of the medics were male (86%), in the grade of E4 (64%), and had no deployment experience (64%). More medics carried a commercial aid bag (55%) than used the standard issue M9 medical bag (45%). Overall, the most frequently carried medical device was an NPA (93%). Overall, 91% of medics carried at least one limb tourniquet, 2% carried a junctional tourniquet, 31% carried a supraglottic airway (SGA), 64% carried a cricothyrotomy setup/kit, 75% carried a chest seal, and 75% carried intravenous (IV) fluid. The most commonly stocked limb tourniquet was the C-A-T (88%), the airway kit was the H&H cricothyrotomy kit (38%), the chest injury set were prepackaged needle decompression kits (81%), and normal saline was the most frequently carried fluid (47%). Most medics carried a heating blanket (54%). Conclusions: Most medics carried materiels that address the common causes of preventable death on the battlefield. However, most materiels stowed in aid bags were not TCCC-preferred items. Moreover, there was a small subset of medics who were not prepared to handle the major causes of death on the battlefield based on the current state of their aid bag.
Integrating Military and Civilian Trauma Systems to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths after Injury
Advances in trauma care have accelerated over the past decade, spurred by the significant burden of injury from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Between 2005 and 2013, the case fatality rate for United States Servicemembers injured in Afghanistan decreased by nearly 50 percent, despite an increase in the severity of injury among U.S. troops during the same period of time. But as the war in Afghanistan ends, knowledge and advances in trauma care developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) over the past decade from experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq may be lost. This would have implications for the quality of trauma care both within the DoD and in the civilian setting, where adoption of military advances in trauma care has become increasingly common and necessary to improve the response to multiple civilian casualty events.
This report documents the remarkable decrease in casualties killed in action during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the role of the Joint Trauma System, the CoTCCC, and the TCCC Working Group in helping to make that happen. It also outlines a clear and comprehensive vision for a National Trauma System that will enable the civilian and the military sectors to work in concert to help prevent ALL potentially preventable deaths in trauma victims.Download a free PDF copy of the IOM Report
What Our Readers are Saying
I just finished reading the fall edition of the JSOM and I am completely blown away!!!! It is absolutely packed with exceptional and relevant information that without a doubt, will assist SOF Tactical Health Care professionals in providing relevant and evidence based patient care. Thank you for providing what I consider a "World Class Medical Journal". The journal itself and the website have become my primary resource for knowledge in tactical medicine."
Robert M. Miller
North American Rescue
Chief Innovation Officer
"There is no peer-reviewed academic resource that equals the Journal of Special Operations Medicine for support of the medical and veterinary lead in Stabilization, Security, Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR) operations, combat and field medicine, and adaptation of Tactical Combat Casualty Care into Tactical Emergency Casualty Care for the law enforcement and emergency management community in 195 UN member countries. JSOM is a valuable resource as we continue the Millennium Medicine Project, targeting the global population that lacks access to basic surgical services and providing crisis management, security, and defense support in this demographic."
Stephen M. Apatow
President, Humanitarian Resource Institute
(UN:NGO:DESA) and H-II OPSEC: Defense Support:
Humanitarian and Security Operations
"Military units that have trained all of their members in Tactical Combat Casualty Care have documented the lowest incidence of preventable deaths among their casualties in the history of modern warfare - and JSOM is the first journal to publish every new change in TCCC."
Frank K. Butler, MD
Chairman, Committee on Tactical
Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC)
"The past 30 years has brought an amazing professionalization of the specialty of Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS). As new standards are set and the world faces increasingly complex security challenges, it is critical that the front line medical providers supporting military, intelligence, and law enforcement operations have a mechanism to expand their knowledge and share best practices. The Journal of Special Operations Medicine offers civilian readers access to the most cutting edge developments in the field including updates on Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC), the National TEMS Imitative and Council (NTIC), and combat lessons learned. JSOM is the one-stop shop for best practice and future advancements in civilian TEMS. One of the unifying principles across humanitarian, expedition and disaster response medical operations is the ability to make complex decisions in uncertain environments. The Journal of Special Operations Medicine is one of the most unique platforms for experts to convey lessons learned and relevant scientific advances across specialties that historically have little interaction. Whether you work for Doctors Without Borders, a DMAT, or provide medical support for expeditions in austere environments, Journal of Special Operations Medicine is your journal."
David W. Callaway, MD
Director, Division of Operational and Disaster Medicine
Operational Medical Director, Carolinas MED-1
Co-Chairman, The Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC)
Civilian Vice President, Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA)