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Redefining Technical Rescue and Casualty Care for SOF: Part 1

Winter 2012

McKay SD, Johnston J, Callaway DW. 12(4). 86 - 93. (Journal Article)


Trauma care in the tactical environment is complex; it requires a unique blend of situational awareness, foresight, medical skill, multitasking, and physical strength. Rescue is a critical, but often over-looked, component of nearly all tactical trauma casualty management. Successful fullspectrum casualty management requires proficiency in four areas: casualty access, assessment, stabilization, and extraction. When complex rescue situations arise (casualty removal from roof tops, mountain terrain, collapsed structures, wells, or a karez), casualty care often becomes further complicated. Special Operations units have historically looked to civilian technical rescue techniques and equipment to fill this "rescue gap." Similar to the evolution of pre-hospital military medicine from civilian guidelines (e.g. Advanced Trauma Life Support) (ATLS)) to an evidence-based, tactical-specific guideline (Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC)), an evolution is required within the rescue paradigm. This shift from civilian-based technical rescue guidelines towards an Operational Rescue™ capability allows tactical variables such as minimal equipment, low light/night vision goggles (NVG) considerations, enemy threats, and variable evacuation times to permeate through the individual rescue skill set. Just as with TCCC, in which the principles of casualty care remain consistent, the practices must be adapted to end-users environment, so it is with rescue.

PMID: 23536462

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