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Featured Articles

Spring 2012

Damage Control and Point of Injury Care: Extending the Care Continuum to Military Prehospital Providers

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Hetzler MR. 12(1). 1 - 10. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Damage control principles are well founded, well proven, and have been incorporated into many specialties of clinical care in both military and civilian practice. Theories regarding hemostatic and hypovolemic resuscitation and preventing the Lethal Triad have had profound effects on the survival of wounded during the present conflicts. As we continue to refine these practices, implementation of this theory should be extended to military prehospital providers. The impacts of damage control practices from those providing initial treatment could complete the continuity of care, prime patients for additional success, and affect overall morbidity and mortality. The basic tenets of damage control theory are easily transferred to the Role I provider in the field and may even address their unique requirements more appropriately. Understanding the working concept of damage control would improve decision-making skills in both therapeutics and evacuation while managing casualties in the uncontrolled environment of combat. Military prehospital damage control differs greatly from in-hospital use, in that the principles must incorporate both medical and tactical considerations for care of the wounded. Introducing damage control principles to established casualty care guidelines will recognize and unite an often underappreciated level of care into a successful practice.

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Global Health Language and Culture Competency

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Beadling C, Maza J, Nakano G, Mahmood M, Jawad S, Al-Ameri A, Zuerlein S, Anderson W. 12(1). 10 - 16. (Journal Article)

Abstract

This article presents findings from a survey conducted to examine the availability of foreign language and culture training to Civil Affairs health personnel and the relevance of that training to the tasks they perform. Civil Affairs forces recognize the value of cross-cultural communication competence because their missions involve a significant level of interaction with foreign governments' officials, military, and civilians. Members of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) who had a health-related military occupational specialty code were invited to participate in the survey. More than 45% of those surveyed were foreign language qualified. Many also received predeployment language and culture training specific to the area of deployment. Significantly more respondents reported receiving cultural training and training on how to work effectively with interpreters than having received foreign language training. Respondents perceived interpreters as important assets and were generally satisfied with their performance. Findings from the survey highlight a need to identify standard requirements for predeployment language training that focuses on medical and health terminology and to determine the best delivery platform(s). Civil Affairs health personnel would benefit from additional cultural training that focuses on health and healthcare in the country or region of deployment. Investing in the development of distance learning capabilities as a platform for delivering health-specific language and culture training may help ease the time and resources constraints that limit the ability of Civil Affairs health personnel to access the training they need.

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Management of Scalp hemorrhage and lacerations

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Arne BC. 12(1). 11 - 16. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Scalp lacerations can vary in severity from a minor injury up to a complete degloving of the scalp. Severe scalp injuries can occur in a combat zone as a result of blunt trauma, penetrating trauma or blast-related mechanisms. More severe scalp wounds tend to cause a greater than expected blood loss and can contribute to patient destabilization relatively quickly. This article will discuss the source of blood supply to the scalp and concentrate on the management of scalp wounds with before and after pictures to demonstrate these techniques. The cases presented will exclude cranial fractures and concentrate more on the management of lacerations specifically

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An Analysis of Battlefield Cricothyrotomy in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Mabry RL, Frankfurt A. 12(1). 17 - 23. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Objective: Historical review of modern military conflicts suggests that airway compromise accounts for 1-2% of total combat fatalities. This study examines the specific intervention of pre-hospital cricothyrotomy (PC) in the military setting using the largest studies of civilian medics performing PC as historical controls. The goal of this paper is to help define optimal airway management strategies, tools and techniques for use in the military pre-hospital setting. Methods: This retrospective chart review examined all patients presenting to combat support hospitals following prehospital cricothyrotomy during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan during a 22-month period. A PC was determined "successful" if it was documented as functional on arrival to the hospital. All PC complications that were documented in the patients' record were also noted in the review. Results: Two thirds of the patients died. The most common injuries were caused by explosions, followed by gunshot wounds (GSW) and blunt trauma. Eighty-two percent of the casualties had injures to face, neck or head. Those injured by gunshot wounds to the head or thorax all died. The largest group of survivors had gunshot wounds to the face and/or neck (38%) followed by explosion related injury to the face, neck and head (33%). Pre-hospital cricothyrotomy was documented as successful in 68% of the cases while 26% of the PC's failed to cannulate the trachea. In 6% of cases the patient was pronounced dead on arrival without documentation of PC function. The majority of PC's (62%) were performed by combat medics at the point of injury. Physicians and physician assistants (PA) were more successful performing PC than medics with a 15% versus a 33% failure rate. Complications were not significantly different than those found in civilian PC studies, including incorrect anatomic placement, excessive bleeding, air leak and right main stem placement. Conclusions: The majority of patients who underwent PC died (66%). The largest group of survivors had gunshot wounds to the face and/or neck (38%) followed by explosion related injury to the face, neck and head (33%). Military medics have a 33% failure rate when performing this procedure compared to 15% for physicians and physician assistants. Minor complications occurred in 21% of cases. The survival rate and complication rates are similar to previous civilian studies of medics performing PC. However the failure rate for military medics is three to five times higher than comparable civilian studies. Further study is required to define the optimal equipment, technique, and training required for combat medics to master this infrequently performed but lifesaving procedure.

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Advanced Medical Technology Capacity Building and the Medical Mentoring Event: A Unique Application of SOF Counterinsurgency Medical Engagement Strategies

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Irizarry DJ, Tate C, Bingham MT, Wey P, Batjom E, Nicholas TA, Boedeker BH. 12(1). 24 - 30. (Journal Article)

Abstract

The Medical Civic Assistance Program (MEDCAP) is a military commander's tool developed during the Vietnam War to gain access to and positively influence an indigenous population through the provision of direct medical care provided by military medical personnel, particularly in Counter Insurgency Operations (COIN). An alternative to MEDCAPs is the medical seminar (MEDSEM). The MEDSEM uses a Commander's military medical assets to share culturally appropriate medical information with a defined indigenous population in order to create a sustainable training resource for the local population's health system. At the heart of the MEDSEM is the "train the trainer" concept whereby medical information is passed to indigenous trainers who then pass that information to an indigenous population. The MEDSEM achieves the Commander's objectives of increasing access and influence with the population through a medical training venue rather than direct patient care. Previous MEDSEMS conducted in Afghanistan by military forces focused on improvement of rural healthcare through creation of Village Health Care Workers. This model can also be used to engage host nation (HN) medical personnel and improve medical treatment capabilities in population centers. The authors describe a modification of the MEDSEM, a Medical Mentorship (MM), conducted in November 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the Afghan National Army (ANA) National Medical Hospital. This training was designed to improve intubation skills in Afghan National Army Hospitals by ANA medical providers, leave residual training capability, and build relationships within the institution that not only assist the institution, but can also be leveraged to foster Commanders' objectives, such as health and reconstruction initiatives and medical partnering for indigenous corps and medical forces described below.

Keywords: Counter-Insurgency; Medical Support; airway training; Afghan National Army

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The Expanded Scope of Emergency Medical Practice Necessary for Initial Disaster Response: Lessons from Haiti

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Menon AS, Norris RL, Racciopi J, Tilson H, Gardner J, Mcadoo G, Brown IP, Auerbach PS. 12(1). 31 - 36. (Journal Article)

Abstract

A team of emergency physicians and nurses from Stanford University responded to the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Because of the extreme nature of the situation, combined with limited resources, the team provided not only acute medical and surgical care to critically injured and ill victims, but was required to uniquely expand its scope of practice. Using a narrative format and discussion, it is the purpose of this paper to highlight our experience in Haiti and use these to estimate some of the skills and capabilities that will be useful for physicians who respond to similar future disasters.

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Immunoglobulin M and Immunoglobulin G Seronegative Q Fever: A Hypothesis for Veterans' Medically Unexplained Chronic Multi-symptom Illnesses

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Chagaris MJ, Smith RC, Goldstein AL. 12(1). 37 - 48. (Journal Article)

Abstract

We present Q fever as a credible hypothesis for Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (GWVIs) and as a possible etiology for prevalent symptomologies affecting currently serving servicemembers. Q fever is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, which is endemic throughout the Middle East. Q fever may manifest in many forms of widely varying and often inconstant symptoms. Due to false-negative interpretations in current and past diagnostic testing, Q fever has not received appropriate consideration as a possible causative agent for medically unexplained veterans' illnesses. Review of current literature invites us to consider that a form of Q fever involving an incomplete immune response is a potential cause of these debilitating illnesses. We hypothesize C. burnetii infection coincidental to exposures suppressing antibody-specific immune response results in infection mediated by immunoglobulin D (IgD). Literature indicates that successful treatment for this form of Q fever requires the concurrent administration of doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine.

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A Salmon Thrombin-Fibrinogen Dressing Controls Hemorrhage in a Swine Model Compared to Standard Kaolin-Coated Gauze

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Floyd CT, Rothwell SW, Martin R, Risdahl J, Olson CE. 12(1). 49 - 55. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Battlefield hemorrhage remains the primary cause of death in potentially survivable combat injuries with noncompressible hemorrhage. Fibrin dressings have great potential for reducing mortality, however are limited by cost, availability, and disease transmission. Methods: Dressings comprising a soluble dextran dressing with lyophilized salmon thrombin and fibrinogen (STF) were tested against Combat Gauze (CG) as a control in a standard swine femoral artery hemorrhage model. Ten female swine were used in each arm of the study. Results: Survival, blood loss, and time to hemostasis were similar between the two dressings. Two of the CGtreated animals that survived exsanguinated during the simulated walking maneuver. Three CG-treated animals formed a clot within the wound, but the clot did not adhere to the femoral artery injury. All ten of the STFtreated animals formed a clot in the wound that adhered and sealed the arterial injury site, even in three animals that did not survive. None of the STF-treated animals bled following the simulated walking maneuver. Three of five STF-treated animals reestablished blood flow distal to the injury as demonstrated by angiography. Conclusions: The STF dressing is as efficacious as CG in treating hemorrhage in this model of a lethal injury. Further, the STF dressing formed a fibrin sealant over the injury, whereas CG achieved hemostasis by occlusive compression of the artery. The sealant property of the STF dressing allowed reestablishment of antegrade blood flow into the distal limb, demonstrating that this dressing has the potential of limb salvage in addition to control of life-threatening hemorrhage.

Keywords: hemorrhage control; Fibrin dressing; Fibrinogen; Combat Gauze™; animal model

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A Medical Training Event for Special Forces Medical Sergeants

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Hellums JS. 12(1). 56 - 61. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Special Forces Medical Sergeants (SFMS) are independent multidisciplinary medical personnel who possess unique medical skill sets that require regular practice in order to maintain proficiency. Due to high operational tempo, the windows of opportunity to practice these abilities are usually limited to short periods of required training to maintain credentials. A Special Forces (SF) Battalion allowed their medical section to orchestrate a weeklong medical training event that included emergency procedure lectures, human cadaver training, ultrasound familiarization, medical administration instruction, and behavioral health discussions. This training enabled the SFMS to hone their competencies and increase their clinical confidence while working and learning from each other and other medical providers. The training event was a great success.

Keywords: Special Forces; skills sustainment; cadaver training; ultrasound; emergency medical procedures

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F-Cell World Drive 2011: Are Tactical Medicine Principles Applicable to a Civilian Scenario?

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Burkert MG, Kroencke A. 12(1). 62 - 70. (Journal Article)

Abstract

In 2011, a Mercedes Benz (MB) conducted the F-Cell World Drive tour around the globe in 125 days. While crossing Asia from SHANGHAI (CHINA) to HELSINKI (FINLAND) by car, en route medical care was provided by embedded emergency physicians. The designated route crossed four different countries, multiple climate zones, and challenging road conditions. There was only limited information provided about hospitals and emergency medical services within different hostnations in the planning phase, so we adopted tactical medical principles for mission planning and execution, as we were facing remote conditions and limitations to equipment, staffing, and patient transport.

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Since When is a Calorie a Calorie?

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Reshel R. 12(1). 71 - 72. (Journal Article)

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The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment

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Hester RA. 12(1). 76 - 77. (Book Review)

Abstract

Zierler, David
University of Georgia Press, 2011. ISBN-0820338265, 9780820338262. 252 pages.

The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland

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Farr WD. 12(1). 77 - 77. (Book Review)

Abstract

Karl E. Meyer
Public Affairs Press: New York, NY. 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0756791940, Hardback. 252 pages.