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A Descriptive Analysis of Occupational Fatalities Due to Felonious Assault Among U.S. Law Enforcement Officers During Tactical Incidents, 1996-2014

Thompson MS, Hartman TM, Sztajnkrycer MD 17(3). 69 - 73 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Little is known about occupational fatalities among tactical officers. A greater understanding of such injuries is needed to improve officer safety. The purpose of this study was to provide a descriptive analysis of line-of-duty deaths secondary to felonious assault during tactical incidents. Methods: Retrospective analysis was performed of open-source de-identified Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data inclusive of the years 1996-2014. Officers were included if the fatal injury occurred during operations by a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, fugitive task force, narcotics task force, or if the LEOKA narrative described the event as a tactical situation. Results: Of 1,012 officer deaths during the study period, 57 (5.6%) involved tactical officers. On average (± standard deviation), victim officers were 37.3 ± 7.8 years of age at the time of death, with 11.7 ± 6.6 years of law enforcement experience. High-risk warrant service accounted for 63.2% of fatalities. A single officer was killed in 91.2% of incidents; 49.1% of cases involved injuries to other officers. The majority of officers (59.6%) killed were the first officer(s) to enter the scene. The most commonly identified cause of death was head trauma (n = 28). Chest trauma accounted for 14 deaths; 10 (71.4%) sustained an entry wound via the ballistic vest armhole. Where recorded, 52.0% of officers died within the first hour of injury. The provision or nature of buddy care, tactical emergency medical services (EMS) care, or conventional EMS care was rarely noted. Conclusion: Tactical officer deaths most commonly occur during high-risk warrant service, and most often involve the first officer(s) to enter a scene, suggesting an opportunity for improved operational tactics. The frequency of fatal axillary penetration suggests the opportunity for ballistic protection redesign. Information is lacking regarding on-scene care, limiting the ability to determine optimal medical procedures for downed officers during tactical operations. Nearly 50% of victim officers survived more than 1 hour from time of injury, suggesting opportunities to intervene and potentially affect outcomes.

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Optimization of Simulation and Moulage in Military-Related Medical Training

Petersen C, Rush SC, Gallo I, Dalere B, Staak B, Moore L, Kerr W, Chandler M, Smith W 17(3). 74 - 80 (Journal Article)

Preparation of Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medics as first responders for the battle space and austere environments is critical to optimize survival and quality of life for our Operators who may sustain serious and complex wounding patterns and illnesses. In the absence of constant clinical exposure for these medics, it is necessary to maximize all available training opportunities. The incorporation of scenario-based training helps weave together teamwork and the ability to practice treatment protocols in a tactical, controlled training environment to reproduce, to some degree, the environment in and stressors under which care will need to be delivered. We reviewed the evolution of training scenarios within one Pararescue (PJ) team since 2008 and codified various tools used to simulate physical findings and drive medical exercises as part of scenario-based training. We also surveyed other SOF Medic training resources.

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Atropine Eye Drops: A Proposed Field Expedient Substitute in the Absence of Atropine Autoinjectors

Calvano CJ, Enzenauer RW, Eisnor DL, Mazzoli RA 17(3). 81 - 83 (Journal Article)

Nerve agents are a threat to military and civilian health. The antidote, atropine sulfate, is delivered by autoinjector, which is a limited resource. We propose the use of 1% atropine ophthalmic solution (supplied commercially in 5mL or 15 mL bottles) via oral, ocular, and intranasal administration as an expedient substitute in austere environments.

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Chest Seal Placement for Penetrating Chest Wounds by Prehospital Ground Forces in Afghanistan

Schauer SG, April MD, Naylor JF, Simon EM, Fisher AD, Cunningham CW, Morissette DM, Fernandez JD, Ryan KL 17(3). 85 - 89 (Journal Article)

Background: Thoracic trauma represents 5% of all battlefield injuries. Communicating pneumothoraces resulting in tension physiology remain an important etiology of prehospital mortality. In addressing penetrating chest trauma, current Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines advocate the immediate placement of a vented chest seal device. Although the Committee on TCCC (CoTCCC) has approved numerous chest seal devices for battlefield use, few data exist regarding their use in a combat zone setting. Objective: To evaluate adherence to TCCC guidelines for chest seal placement among personnel deployed to Afghanistan. Methods: We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR). Joint Trauma System personnel linked patients to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry, when available, for outcome data upon reaching a fixed facility. Results: In the PHTR, we identified 62 patients with documented gunshot wound (GSW) or puncture wound trauma to the chest. The majority (74.2%; n = 46) of these were due to GSW, with the remainder either explosive-based puncture wounds (22.6%; n = 14) or a combination of GSW and explosive (3.2%; n = 2). Of the 62 casualties with documented GSW or puncture wounds, 46 (74.2%) underwent chest seal placement. Higher proportions of patients with medical officers in their chain of care underwent chest seal placement than those that did not (63.0% versus 37.0%). The majority of chest seals placed were not vented. Conclusion: Of patients with a GSW or puncture wound to the chest, 74.2% underwent chest seal placement. Most of the chest seals placed were not vented in accordance with guidelines, despite the guideline update midway through the study period. These data suggest the need to improve predeployment training on TCCC guidelines and matching of the Army logistical supply chain to the devices recommended by the CoTCCC.

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No Ordinary Sleeper Cell: Managing the Varied Problems of Plasmodium vivax Malaria

Jarvis J 17(3). 90 - 94 (Journal Article)

Plasmodium vivax malaria is an essential yet elusive target of tropical disease eradication efforts, and is the focus of this literature review. This review will reacquaint Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medics with the basic principles of malaria as context for understanding the several confounding issues particular to P. vivax infections. The review concludes with current malaria guidelines and malaria mitigation strategies.

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Humanitarian Struggle in Burma's Conflict Zones

Gyo M 17(3). 95 - 99 (Journal Article)

The Back Pack Health Worker Team (BPHWT), a community- based health organization, provides primary health care to ethnic people in conflict, remote, and internally displaced areas, in Burma (aka Myanmar), controlled by ethnic armed organizations fighting against the Burma government. Its services include both curative and preventative health care through a network of 1,425 health personnel including community health workers and village-embedded traditional birth attendants and village health workers. The BPHWT organizational and program model may prove useful to Special Operations medical actions in support of insurgent movements and conversely with a host nation's counterinsurgency strategies, which include the extension of its health services into areas that may be remote and/or inhabited by indigenous people and have insurgency potential. In the former respect, special attention is directed toward "humanitarian struggle" that uses health care as a weapon against the counterinsurgency strategies of a country's oppressive military.

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A Shift From Resilience to Human Performance Optimization in Special Operations Training: Advancements in Theory and Practice

Park GH, Messina LA, Deuster PA 17(3). 109 - 113 (Journal Article)

Within the Department of Defense over the past decade, a focus on enhancing Warfighter resilience and readiness has increased. For Special Operation Forces (SOF), who bear unique burdens for training and deployment, programs like the Preservation of the Force and Family have been created to help support SOF and their family members in sustaining capabilities and enhancing resilience in the face of prolonged warfare. In this review, we describe the shift in focus from resilience to human performance optimization (HPO) and the benefits of human performance initiatives that include holistic fitness. We then describe strategies for advancing the application of HPO for future initiatives through tailoring and cultural adaptation, as well as advancing methods for measurement. By striving toward specificity and precision performance, SOF human performance programs can impact individual and team capabilities to a greater extent than in the past, as well as maintaining the well-being of SOF and their families across their careers and beyond.

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Hepatitis E

Burnett MW 17(3). 114 - 115 (Journal Article)

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Tools to Assess and Reduce Injury Risk (Part 1)

Knapik JJ 17(3). 116 - 119 (Journal Article)

Many injuries are preventable. Useful tools are available that can aid in assessing injury risks and developing methods to reduce these risks. This is part 1 of a two-part article that will discuss these tools, which include the Haddon Matrix, the 10 Countermeasure Strategies, the Injury Control Process, and the Army Risk-Management Process. The Haddon Matrix is 3 ® 3 table that, across the top (columns), provides an approach to conceptualizing injury prevention and control through modifications of the human, equipment, and environment; and, across rows, thinking about injury prevention and control before, during, and after the injury-producing event. The basic premise of the 10 Countermeasure Strategies is that injuries are largely due to energy exchanges between a person and the external environment in such a way that body cannot properly avoid or absorb the energy and anatomic structures are damaged. The Countermeasure Strategies are (1) eliminating the hazard altogether, (2) reducing the amount of the hazard, (3) preventing release of the hazard, (4) modifying the rate or spatial distribution of the hazard, (5) separating in space or time the hazard and the individual, (6) separating the individual from the hazard using a barrier, (7) modifying the basic qualities of the hazard, (8) strengthening the individual to make them more resistant to damage, (9) countering the damage done, and (10) stabilizing, healing, and rehabilitating the individual. Part 2 of this series will discuss the injury control process and the Army risk management process.

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Carfentanil: A New and Often Unrecognized Threat

Cowles CE, Mitchell J, Stepp JE, Bewley VZ 17(3). 120 - 122 (Journal Article)

Law enforcement officers, whether working the streets or on narcotic detail, and even those who operate in strike teams, face a new danger from an old drug: carfentanil. Drug dealers seeking to increase profits cut this cheap synthetic drug into expensive heroin, providing an extreme high. As a potent synthetic opioid narcotic, it is finding its way to the streets of the United States and can pose a threat to life for law enforcement, first responders, and medical examiners.

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An Outbreak Investigation Report and Lessons Learned by Multinational Coalition Forces: October 2016, Baghdad, Iraq

Gorzelnik SA, Kephart LN, Miklos WE 17(3). 123 - 129 (Journal Article)

Background: Public health personnel from the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, conducted an outbreak investigation in response to many local cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness presenting to U.S. medical facilities. The investigation was conducted to identify the source of the illness, assess the extent of cases, and make recommendations to prevent similar outbreaks. Methods and Materials: For this retrospective cohort study, medical records and patient outbreak questionnaires were reviewed. A patient case, relative to the outbreak, was defined as any person who had developed a GI illness and presented for medical evaluation to either sick call or an emergency service at a diplomatic or military medical facility in Baghdad from 30 September to 12 October 2016. Results: A total of 123 people met the case definition. The most common presenting symptom was diarrhea (91% to 96% of cases). Other symptoms included abdominal cramps, fatigue, and headache. Most cases were military personnel (n =100). Salad was significantly associated with GI illness (70% of respondents). Five salad ingredients had significantly elevated levels of Escherichia coli. Conclusion: Mitigation strategies to reduce the probability of similar outbreaks include purchasing food solely from approved vendors or thoroughly cooking all foods, including fruits and vegetables.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Management in Prolonged Field Care

van Wyck D, Loos PE, Friedline N, Stephens D, Smedick BC, McCafferty R, Rush SC, Keenan S, Powell D, Shackelford S 17(3). 130 - 140 (Journal Article)

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Teleconsultation in Prolonged Field Care Position Paper

Vasios WN, Pamplin JC, Powell D, Loos PE, Riesberg J, Keenan S 17(3). 141 - 144 (Journal Article)

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To Cut or Not to Cut: That Is an Ultrasound Question!

Poston WH, Hampton K 17(3). 145 (Journal Article)

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Remote Dental Surgery as a Medical Civilian Assistance Program (MEDCAP): Helping Iraqi, Kurdish, and U.S. Forces Win Hearts and Minds in the Fight Against Daesh

Ferreira B 17(3). 148 - 150 (Journal Article)

Dr Ferreira discusses the work of the Humanitarian Aid and Security Forces (HASF) in providing volunteer dental services to a local Christian militia in Mosul, Iraq.

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Point-of-Care Coagulation Testing for Trauma Patients in a Military Setting: A Prospective Study

Cotte J, d'Aranda E, Chauvin V, Kaiser E, Meaudre E 13(4). 59 - 62 (Journal Article)

Background and Objective: Almost 50% of military trauma patients who need transfusions develop a coagulopathy. Immediately treating this coagulopathy improves the patient's prognosis. Field military hospitals often lack laboratory devices needed to diagnose a clinically significant coagulopathy and have limited blood product resources such as plasma. Point-of-care (POC) devices for the measurement of prothrombin time (PT) are available and have been tested in a variety of situations, including hemorrhagic surgery. The authors compared a POC device, the Coaguchek XS Pro (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland), with laboratory measures for determining the PT in military trauma patients in a field hospital. Methods: This single-center prospective study was designed to compare POC coagulation monitoring with traditional laboratory testing. It was conducted at the French military hospital located at Kabul International Airport. All patients with trauma injuries resulting from war operations were included. A blood sample was drawn immediately on admission. PT was determined both in the laboratory and with use of the Coaguchek XS pro. Results: Forty patients with war trauma were enrolled during a 3-month period. The authors recorded 69 measurements. The two methods were correlated with a correlation coefficient of 0.78 (ρ < .001). The Bland- Altman plot showed a mean difference of 5.8% (95% confidence interval -14.9% to 26.6%). Using a PT cutoff of 60%, POC had a sensitivity of 77.1% and a specificity of 94.1%. Results from POC PT measurement were available within a mean of 25.8 minutes before laboratory measures. Conclusions: The Coaguchek XS Pro device can be used successfully in an austere environment without compromising its performance.

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Effects of Intraosseous and Intravenous Administration of Hextend® on Time of Administration and Hemodynamics in a Swine Model

Johnson D, Dial J, Ard J, Yourk T, Burke E, Paine C, Gegel B, Burgert J 14(1). 79 - 85 (Journal Article)

Introduction: The military recommends that a 500mL bolus of Hextend® be administered via an intravenous (IV) 18-gauge needle or via an intraosseous (IO) needle for patients in hypovolemic shock. Purposes: The purposes of this study were to compare the time of administration of Hextend and the hemodynamics of IV and IO routes in a Class II hemorrhage swine model. Methods: This was an experimental study using 27 swine. After 30% of their blood volume was exsanguinated, 500mL of Hextend was administered IV or IO, but not to the control group. Hemodynamic data were collected every 2 minutes until administration was complete. Results: Time for administration was not significant (p = .78). No significant differences existed between the IO and IV groups relative to hemodynamics (p >.05), but both were significantly different than the control group (p < .05). Conclusions: The IO route is an effective method of administering Hextend.

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Seroprevalence of Dengue Fever in US Army Special Operations Forces: Initial Results and the Way Ahead

Caci JB, Blaylock JM, De La Barrera R, Thomas SJ, Lyons AG 14(3). 111 - 115 (Journal Article)

The endemicity of dengue fever (DF) and, consequently, sequelae of DF are increasing worldwide. The increases are largely a result of widespread international travel and the increased range of the mosquito vectors. US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) personnel are at an increased risk of exposure to dengue based on their frequent deployments to and presence in dengue endemic areas worldwide. Repeated deployments to different endemic areas can increase the risk for developing the more serious sequelae of dengue: dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Information about the seroprevalence rate of dengue in USASOC personnel, in particular, is lacking and is critical to assessing the risk, tailoring preventive medicine countermeasures, leveraging field diagnostics, and maintaining mission capability. In the first part of a two-part project to assess baseline seroprevalence in USASOC units, a random, unit-stratified sample of 500 anonymous serum specimens from personnel assigned to the highest-risk units in USASOC were screened for dengue using a microneutralization assay. Of the 500 specimens screened, 56 (11.2%) of 500 had neutralizing titers (NT) (MN(50) ≥ 10) against at least one DENV serotype. Subsequent sample titration resulted in 48 (85.7%) of 56 of the samples with NT (MN(50) ≥ 10) against at least one dengue serotype for an overall dengue exposure rate of 9.6% (48 of 500). The second part of the ongoing project, started in 2012, was a multicenter, serosurveillance project using predeployment and postdeployment sera collected from USASOC personnel deployed to South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Preliminary results show a 13.2% (55 of 414) seropositivity rate. The significance of these findings as they relate to personal risk and operational impact is discussed.

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Abdominal Pain

Banting J, Meriano T 15(1). 118 - 122 (Journal Article)

The series objective is to review various clinical conditions/ presentations, including the latest evidence on management, and to dispel common myths. In the process, core knowledge and management principles are enhanced. A clinical case will be presented. Cases will be drawn from real life but phrased in a context that is applicable to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) or tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) environment. Details will be presented in such a way that the reader can follow along and identify how they would manage the case clinically depending on their experience and environment situation. Commentary will be provided by currently serving military medical technicians. The medics and author will draw on their SOF experience to communicate relevant clinical concepts pertinent to different operational environments including SOF and TEMS. Commentary and input from active special operations medical technicians will be part of the feature.

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Tourniquet Conversion: A Recommended Approach in the Prolonged Field Care Setting

Drew B, Bird D, Matteucci M, Keenan S 15(3). 81 - 85 (Journal Article)

Life-saving interventions take precedence over diagnostic maneuvers in the Care Under Fire stage of Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The immediate threat to life with an actively hemorrhaging extremity injury is addressed with the liberal and proper use of tourniquets. The emphasis on hemorrhage control has and will continue to result in the application of tourniquets that may not be needed past the Care Under Fire stage. As soon as tactically allowable, all tourniquets must be reassessed for conversion. Reassessment of all tourniquets should occur as soon as the tactical situation permits, but no more than 2 hours after initial placement. This article describes a procedure for qualified and trained medical personnel to safely convert extremity tourniquets to local wound dressings, using a systematic process in the field setting.

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