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)

    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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