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Time for the Department of Defense to Field Video Laryngoscopy Across the Battlespace

Schauer S, Long B, Fisher AD, Stednick PJ, Bebarta VS, Ginde AA, April MD 99(5). 0 (Editorial)

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Unconventional Resilience: An Operational Model

Jeschke EA, Baker JB, Wyma-Bradley J, Dorsch J, Huffman SL 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

This is the third of nine planned papers drawn from the findings of our ethnographic study entitled "The Impact of Catastrophic Injury Exposure on Resilience in Special Operations Surgical Teams." Building from our strategic framework, this paper will establish that resilience is better understood as cohesive adaptation within a Special Operation Forces (SOF) cultural ecosystem. Exploring unconventional resilience as the inter-relationship across the organization, team, and individual, we will use qualitative quotes to describe the ecosystem of dynamic freedom of maneuver in ambiguity. To achieve our goals, we will: 1) compare conventional and unconventional resilience to operationalize the components of our strategic framework; 2) use qualitative quotes to show how the ecosystem of unconventional resilience functions at each level supporting our operational model; and 3) describe how the operational model of unconventional resilience links to tactical performance through five social determinants. We conclude by gesturing to how transformational change-agency applies to practical performance of all SOF medics.

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A Brief Primer on the Concept of the Neuroweapon for U.S. Military Medical Personnel

Washington M, Dinh DT, Ibarra C, Kua SC 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

The malevolent application of neuroscience is an emerging threat to the U.S. military. At present, U.S. military medical personnel are not capable of adequately diagnosing or treating the injuries and illnesses that may result from exposure to potential neuroweapons. This fact was illustrated in 2016 when U.S. diplomats serving in Havana, Cuba reported hearing strange noises accompanied by a constellation of unexplained health effects. Similar incidents have been reported in China and Russia. Although various hypotheses have been put forward to explain these symptoms, none of them have been verified. The reported symptoms were analogous to the physiological responses that have been produced in the laboratory by exposing volunteers to pulsed microwave energy. However, these incidents of undetermined origin demonstrate that widespread neurological illness can be disruptive to U.S. government operations and that it is currently not possible to identify the cause, determine the correct treatment, or ascribe attribution to potential neuroweapon use in an overseas setting. Since it is likely that Special Operations medical personnel will be among the first to respond to neuroweapon attacks in the deployed environment, it is essential that they be made aware of this emerging threat and that efforts be made to incorporate potential directed energy neuroweapons and other neuroweapon configurations into future Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives (CBRN-E) training modules. The intention of this article is to introduce the concept of the neuroweapon to military medical personnel and to provide a brief review of the relevant literature.

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Effects of Airway Localization Device Use During Surgical Cricothyrotomy on Procedural Times and Confidence Levels of Pre-Hospital Personnel

Schlocker C, Grosser S, Spaulding C, Beltrech B, Brady R 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

This study evaluated the effect of an airway localization device (ALD) on surgical cricothyrotomy (SC) success rates and prehospital provider confidence. SC is indicated in 0.62% to 1.8% of all patients with military trauma, especially those presenting with traumatic airway obstruction. The effect of ALD was evaluated in an airway mannequin model during SC with the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC)-recommended Control-Cric Cricothyrotomy System. Outcomes included procedural time, Likert measures of operator confidence, and qualitative data/feedback for suggested future improvements in device design and training. The average procedural times of the hospital corpsmen (HM) including 20 men and 8 women were 67 seconds (without ALD) and 87 seconds (with ALD) respectively, which were statistically significant. Provider confidence for all SC procedural steps increased significantly after SC with and without ALD. The average procedural times of the Navy Special Operations Forces (SOF) group comprising 8 males were 56 seconds (without ALD) and 64 seconds (with ALD), which was not statistically significant. Provider confidence for two SC procedural steps (adequate hook retraction and first-attempt SC tube insertion) increased significantly after SC with and without ALD. First-attempt SC success rates were 90% in each group. Both groups provided feedback on the Control-Cric and ALD, with qualitative feedback analyzed for further SC training recommendations. Procedural times were increased with ALD when compared to those without ALD, although the increase may not be clinically significant in this classroom setting.

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Optimizing Brain Health of United States Special Operations Forces

Edlow BL, Gilmore N, Tromly SL, Deary KB, McKinney IR, Hu CG, Kelemen JN, Maffei C, Tseng CJ, Llorden GR, Healy BC, Masood M, Cali RJ, Baxter T, Yao EF, Belanger HG, Benjamini D, Basser PJ, Priemer DS, Kimberly WT, Polimeni JR, Rosen BR, Fischl B, Zurcher NR, Greve DN, Hooker JM, Huang SY, Caruso A, Smith GA, Szymanski TG, Perl DP, Dams-O'Connor K, Mac Donald CL, Bodien YG 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel are frequently exposed to explosive blasts in training and combat. However, the effects of repeated blast exposure on the human brain are incompletely understood. Moreover, there is currently no diagnostic test to detect repeated blast brain injury (rBBI). In this "Human Performance Optimization" article, we discuss how the development and implementation of a reliable diagnostic test for rBBI has the potential to promote SOF brain health, combat readiness, and quality of life.

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The Impact of Progressive Simulation-Based Training on Tourniquet Application

Cole R, Steffens K, Flash Z, Conley S, Givens ML 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

The Advanced Combat Medical Experience (ACME) is a progressive simulation-based training held for second-year medical students at the Uniformed Services University (USU). This study explored the impact of participating in ACME on students' tourniquet application skills. A panel of emergency medicine physician experts developed an assessment to evaluate the participants' performance. Trained raters then scored students' tourniquet application performance before and after participating in ACME. We conducted a Wilcoxon signed-rank test to detect any significant difference in the participants' pretest and posttest ratings as well as time it took them to apply the tourniquet. Our results indicated a significant difference in the pre- and posttest ratings of students as well as the time it took them to apply the tourniquet. This study confirms the effectiveness of progressive simulation-based education for teaching TCCC skills to military medical trainees.

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Survey of Military Physician Receptivity to Telemedicine and Perceived Telemedicine-Amenable Conditions in Turkey

Cetin M, Ylidirim M 23(3). 13 (Journal Article)

Background: Today, asymmetric conflict and terrorism pose a threat to not only soldiers but also civilians, forcing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to confront new threats and rethink its strategy. Various studies have shown that telemedicine is one of these advancements and that it can eventually bring expert advice to the field. Telemedicine, on the other hand, is new in Turkey and has yet to be implemented in the field. The aim of this study is to evaluate the support of health personnel with telemedicine from the perspective of military physicians. Methods: This study was carried out between 20 August 2021 and 5 October 2021 with the participation of 47 military physicians working as research assistants in a training and research hospital. A questionnaire consisting of 17 questions was used to evaluate military physicians' perspectives on telemedicine and their expectations from it. Results: Forty-six of the participants stated that they wanted a healthcare provider/expert opinion to consult about the patient/injured while they were on field and that telemedicine could be used within the scope of field medicine (4.51 ± 0.62). They also stated that telemedicine centers should employ emergency medicine specialists in particular (n = 40, 85.1%). The participants agreed that these centers would be quite useful, particularly for medical evacuations (n = 42, 89.4%). Conclusion: Telemedicine's long-term viability in our country is thought to be contingent upon it covering medical conditions that are practical, require fewer technical intricacies, and appeal to emergency health services. The openness of the personnel to innovation and change is expected to improve harmony and cooperation.

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Use of Intranasal Analgesia in French Armed Forces: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Montagnon R, Cungi P, Aoun O, Morand G, Desmottes J, Pasquier P, Travers S, Aigle L, Dubecq C 23(3). 39 (Journal Article)

Background: Pain management is essential in military medicine, particularly in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) during deployments in remote and austere settings. The few previously published studies on intranasal analgesia (INA) focused only on the efficacy and onset of action of the medications used (ketamine, sufentanil, and fentanyl). Side-effects were rarely reported. The aim of our study was to evaluate the use of intranasal analgesia by French military physicians. Methods: We carried out a multicentric survey between 15 January and 14 April 2020. The survey population included all French military physicians in primary-care centers (n = 727) or emergency departments (n = 55) regardless of being stationed in mainland France or French overseas departments and territories. Results: We collected 259 responses (33% responsiveness rate), of which 201 (77.6%) physicians reported being familiar with INA. However, regarding its use, of the 256 physicians with completed surveys, only 47 (18.3%) had already administered it. Emergency medicine physicians supporting highly operational units (e.g., Special Forces) were more familiar with this route of administration and used it more frequently. Ketamine was the most common medication used (n = 32; 57.1%). Finally, 234 (90%) respondents expressed an interest in further education on INA. Conclusion: Although a majority of French military physicians who replied to the survey were familiar with INA, few used it in practice. This route of administration seems to be a promising medication for remote and austere environments. Specific training should, therefore, be recommended to spread and standardize its use.

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Unconventional Resilience: A Strategic Framework

Jeschke EA, Baker JB, Wyma-Bradley J, Dorsch J, Huffman SL 23(3). 58 (Journal Article)

This will be the second in a series of nine articles in which we discuss findings from our ethnographic study entitled "The Impact of Catastrophic Injury Exposure on Resilience in Special Operations Surgical Teams." Our goal in this article is to establish the practical importance of redefining resilience within a strategic framework. Our bottom-up approach to strategy development explores unconventional resilience as an integrated transformational process that promotes change-agency through the force of movement. Synthesis of empirical data derived from participant interviews and focus groups highlights conceptual attributes that make up the essential components of this framework. To achieve our goal, the authors (1) briefly remind readers how we have problematized conventional resilience; (2) explain how we analyzed qualitative quotes to extrapolate our definition of unconventional resilience; and (3) describe in detail our strategic framework. We conclude by gesturing to why this strategic framework is applicable to practical performance of all Special Operation Forces (SOF) medics.

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Slow Intravenous Infusion of a Novel Damage Control Cocktail Decreases Blood Loss in a Pig Polytrauma Model

White N, Asato C, Wenthe A, Wang X, Ringgold K, St. John A, Han CY, Bennett JC, Stern SA 23(3). 50 (Journal Article)

Background: Our objective was to optimize a novel damage control resuscitation (DCR) cocktail composed of hydroxyethyl starch, vasopressin, and fibrinogen concentrate for the polytraumatized casualty. We hypothesized that slow intravenous infusion of the DCR cocktail in a pig polytrauma model would decrease internal hemorrhage and improve survival compared with bolus administration. Methods: We induced polytrauma, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), femoral fracture, hemorrhagic shock, and free bleeding from aortic tear injury, in 18 farm pigs. The DCR cocktail consisted of 6% hydroxyethyl starch in Ringer's lactate solution (14mL/kg), vasopressin (0.8U/kg), and fibrinogen concentrate (100mg/kg) in a total fluid volume of 20mL/kg that was either divided in half and given as two boluses separated by 30 minutes as control or given as a continuous slow infusion over 60 minutes. Nine animals were studied per group and monitored for up to 3 hours. Outcomes included internal blood loss, survival, hemodynamics, lactate concentration, and organ blood flow obtained by colored microsphere injection. Results: Mean internal blood loss was significantly decreased by 11.1mL/kg with infusion compared with the bolus group (p = .038). Survival to 3 hours was 80% with infusion and 40% with bolus, which was not statistically different (Kaplan Meier log-rank test, p = .17). Overall blood pressure was increased (p < .001), and blood lactate concentration was decreased (p < .001) with infusion compared with bolus. There were no differences in organ blood flow (p > .09). Conclusion: Controlled infusion of a novel DCR cocktail decreased hemorrhage and improved resuscitation in this polytrauma model compared with bolus. The rate of infusion of intravenous fluids should be considered as an important aspect of DCR.

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A Novel Scale to Assess Psychological Strategies in Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians

Taylor M, Barczak-Scarboro NE, Hernandez L 23(3). 44 (Journal Article)

Purpose: This report describes the development and validation of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Combat Mindset Scale-Training (CMS-T), a population-specific measure of psychological strategy use in EOD training environments. Methods: Scale items were developed by a working group composed of active-duty technicians from EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 1, Naval Health Research Center scientists, and a psychometrician. The working group developed 30 candidate items, which were administered to EOD accessions (new recruits), advanced students, and technicians (N = 164). Factor structure was explored with principal axis factoring and Varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization. Internal consistencies were established via Cronbach alpha, and convergent validity was evaluated with correlational and ANOVA models. Results: Five internally stable subscales were derived from 19 essential items, explaining 65% of total variance. The subscales were named relaxation, attentional-emotional control (AEC), goal setting-visualization (GSV), internal dialogue (ID), and automaticity. The most frequently used strategies were GSV and ID. Expected relationships emerged between strategies, most notably AEC and mental health. The scale also differentiated between subgroups. Conclusion: The EOD CMS-T demonstrates a stable factor structure, internal reliability, and convergent validity. This study yields a valid, practical, and easily administered instrument to support EOD training and evaluation.

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Yugoslav Guerrilla Hospital Design Features and Operation in World War II

Colesar MT, Baker JB 23(3). 18 (Journal Article)

In the most austere combat conditions, Yugoslav guerillas of World War II (WWII) demonstrated an innovative and effective hospitalization system that saved countless lives. Yugoslav Partisans faced extreme medical and logistical challenges that spurred innovation while waging a guerrilla war against the Nazis. Partisans used concealed hospitals ranging between 25 to 215 beds throughout the country with wards that were often subterranean. Concealment and secrecy prevented discovery of many wards, which prototypically contained two bunk levels and held 30 patients in a 3.5 × 10.5-meter space that included storage and ventilation. Backup storage and treatment facilities provided critical redundancy. Intra-theater evacuation relied on pack animals and litter bearers while partisans relied on Allied fixed wing aircraft for inter-theater evacuation.

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What a Special Operations Cognitive Assessment Should Look Like

Biggs A, Heller T, Colvin K, Wood D, Jewell JA, Littlejohn LF 23(3). 18 (Journal Article)

Special Operations organizations have recently demonstrated their commitment to enhanced cognitive functioning and improving brain health through the development of a Cognitive Domain. However, as this new enterprise becomes supported by more resources and personnel, a critical question involves what cognitive assessments should be conducted to evaluate cognitive functions. The assessment itself forms a crux in the Cognitive Domain that could mislead cognitive practitioners if not properly applied. Here, the discussion addresses the most important criteria to satisfy in the development of a Special Operations cognitive assessment, including operational relevance, optimization, and speed. Cognitive assessments in this domain must incorporate the following: (1) a task with clear operational relevance to ensure meaningful results, (2) no ceiling effects so that performance can support cognitive enhancement initiatives, and (3) the task itself should impose a minimal time requirement to avoid creating a substantial logistical burden. A dynamic threat assessment task supported by drift diffusion modeling can meet all requisite criteria, while also providing more insight into decision parameters of Special Operations personnel than any currently used test. The discussion concludes with a detailed description of this recommended cognitive assessment task, as well as the research and development steps needed to support its application.

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Phosphorus Burn Management with Multimodal Analgesia

Saint-jean L, Corcostegui S, Galant J, Derkenne C 23(3). 82 (Case Reports)

We report the case of a patient suffering from a chemical burn caused by white phosphorus, for whom initial management required decontamination using multimodal analgesia. This case report should be familiar to other military emergency physicians and Tactical Emergency Medical Support for two reasons: 1) A phosphorus burn occurs from a chemical agent rarely encountered, with minimal research available in the medical literature, despite the use of this weapon in the recent Ukrainian conflict, and 2) We discuss the use of multimodal analgesia, combining loco-regional anesthesia (LRA) and an intranasal pathway, which can be used in a remote and austere environment.

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Artificial Blood Development Implications for Military Medicine

Melanson V, Hershfield J, Deegan MK, Cho H, Perinon D, Bateman SL, Barnhill JC 23(3). 63 (Journal Article)

Massive hemorrhaging remains the most common cause of preventable battlefield deaths. Blood used for trauma care requires a robust donation network, capacity for long-term storage, and extensive and accurate testing. Bioengineering technologies could offer a remedy to these constraints in the form of blood substitutes-fluids that could be transfused into patients to provide oxygen, carry away waste, and aid in coagulation-that would be used in prolonged casualty care and in far-forward settings, overcoming the obstacles of distance and time. The different molecular properties of red blood cells (RBCs), blood substitutes, and platelet replacements contribute to their respective utilities, and each type is currently represented in ongoing clinical trials. Hemoglobin oxygen carriers (HBOCs) are the most advanced RBC replacements, many of which are currently being evaluated in clinical trials in the United States and other countries. Despite recent advancements, challenges remaining in the development of blood alternatives include stability, oxygen capacity, and compatibility. The continued research and investment in new technologies has the potential to significantly benefit the treatment of life-threatening emergency injuries, both on the battlefield and in the civilian sector. In this review, we discuss military blood-management practices and military-specific uses of individual blood components, as well as describe and analyze several artificial blood products that could be options for future battlefield use.

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Pain Control and Point-of-Care Ultrasound: An Approach to Rib Fractures for the Austere Provider

Snyder R, Brillhart DB 23(3). 70 (Journal Article)

Rib fractures are common injuries that cause significant discomfort and can lead to severe pulmonary complications. Rib injury most often results from high-velocity traumatic mechanisms, while rarely representing underlying metastatic disease or secondary injury due to pulmonary illness. Because most rib fractures are caused by obvious trauma, algorithms are focused on treatment rather than investigating the exact mechanism of rib fractures. Chest radiographs are often the initial imaging performed but have proven to be unreliable in identification of rib fracture. Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic option as it is more sensitive and specific than simple radiographs. However, both modalities are generally unavailable to Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical personnel working in austere locations. These medical providers could potentially diagnose and treat rib fractures in any environment using a standardized approach that includes clarity of mechanism, pain relief, and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). This case demonstrates an approach to the diagnosis and treatment of a rib fracture in a 47-year-old male who presented to a military treatment facility with unlocalized flank and back pain, but the methods employed have applicability to the austere provider working far from the resources of a medical center.

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Combat Vascular Access: A Scoping Review

Smith S, White J, McGuire T, Meunier B, Ball I, Hilsden R 23(3). 32 (Journal Article)

Medical leadership must decide how to obtain vascular access in a combat environment. Adequate combat trauma resuscitation requires efficient vascular access. A search of the Medline and EMBASE databases was conducted to find articles on combat vascular access. The primary dataset of interest was the type of vascular access obtained. Other data reviewed included who performed the intervention and the success rate of the intervention. The search strategy produced 1,339 results, of which 24 were included in the final analysis. Intravenous (IV), intraosseous (IO), and central venous access have all been used in the prehospital combat environment. This review summarizes the available combat literature to help commanders make an evidence-based decision about their prehospital vascular access strategy.

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Social Fitness and the Social Domain: A Holistic Approach Based on Total Force Fitness

McCarthy R, Park GH, Barczak-Scarboro NE, Barrientos S, Chamberlin R, Hansom A, Messina LA 23(3). 85 (Journal Article)

The Total Force Fitness (TFF) framework was envisioned as a holistic framework of interrelated domains, whereby impact in one domain could have cascading implications for the others. For this reason, definitional clarity surrounding how to achieve fitness in the various domains is crucial. Social fitness definitions tend to focus on individual efforts and overlook the powerful impact of the social group and the social environment on the individual. In this article, various definitions of social fitness are analyzed in an effort to broaden the current understanding of the social domain. Some of the knowledge gaps in understanding social fitness and the resulting challenges are addressed before reviewing a few existing social fitness interventions. Finally, this study offers recommendations for improvement, along with future directions for the increased integration of the social domain into the TFF framework.

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Mobility Solutions After a Lower Extremity Fracture and Applicability to Battlefield and Wilderness Medicine

Childers W, Alderete JF, Eliason TD, Goldman SM, Nicolella DP, Pierrie SN, Stark GE, Studer NM, Wenke JC, Wilson JB, Dearth CL 23(3). 91 (Journal Article)

The potential for delayed evacuation of injured Service members from austere environments highlights the need to develop solutions that can stabilize a wound and enable mobility during these prolonged casualty care (PCC) scenarios. Lower extremity fractures have traditionally been treated by immobilization (splinting) followed by air evacuation - a paradigm not practical in PCC scenarios. In the civilian sector, treatment of extremity injuries sustained during remote recreational activities have similar challenges, particularly when adverse weather or terrain precludes early ground or air rescue. This review examines currently available fracture treatment solutions to include splinting, orthotic devices, and biological interventions and evaluates their feasibility: 1) for prolonged use in austere environments and 2) to enable patient mobilization. This review returned three common types of splints to include: a simple box splint, pneumatic splints, and traction splints. None of these splinting techniques allowed for ambulation. However, fixed facility-based orthotic interventions that include weight-bearing features may be combined with common splinting techniques to improve mobility. Biologically-focused technologies to stabilize a long bone fracture are still in their infancy. Integrating design features across these technologies could generate advanced treatments which would enable mobility, thus maximizing survivability until patient evacuation is feasible.

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Comparison of DripAssist to Traditional Method for Achieving Rate Infusions by U.S. Army Medics

Golden DJ, Castaneda P, Carius BM, Simmons CJ 23(3). 9 (Journal Article)

Literature finds improper intravenous (IV) infusion rates as the most common cause of medication administration errors (MAE). Calculating drip rates and manipulating roller clamps while counting drops within the drip chamber to manage IV infusions - known as the traditional method (TM) - increases the likelihood of IV MAEs compared to electronic infusion pumps. The DripAssist, a novel in-line device, allows users to monitor and adjust infusion rates without calculating rates or counting drops. We conducted a prospective, randomized, crossover study with a convenience sample of U.S. Army medics initiating infusion rates using the DripAssist and the TM. Investigators randomized participants to start with the TM or DripAssist and achieve three specific infusions using an in vitro model. The primary outcome was the time to achieve the desired infusion rate measured in seconds. Secondary outcomes included drip rate accuracy and volume infused over one hour. End user feedback included method confidence on a 100-point Bandura scale and appraisal using a five-point Likert item. Twenty-two medics demonstrated faster time to achieve infusion rates with the DripAssist over TM (median 146.5 seconds vs. 207.5 seconds, p = .003). A sequence effect noted faster time to achieve desired infusion rates with the TM after completing infusions with DripAssist (p = .033). The DripAssist demonstrated significantly improved accuracy for drip rate and volume administered over one hour compared to TM (median rate error: 5% versus 46%, p <.001; median volume percentage error: 26.5% versus 65%, p <.001). The DripAssist had significantly higher user confidence (median 80 vs. 47.5, p <.001) and was perceived as easier to use (median 4 vs. 2, p = <.001) and more likely to be learned, remembered, and performed by a medic (median 5 vs. 3, p <.001). Most participants (90%) preferred the DripAssist for establishing a rate-specific infusion. The DripAssist demonstrated significantly faster time to achieve infusion rates, improved accuracy, and increased user confidence. Sequence effects may confound time data. We recommend further studies of the DripAssist by prehospital medical personnel in more austere environments.

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