An Analysis and Comparison of Prehospital Trauma Care Provided by Medical Officers and Medics on the Battlefield


Fisher AD, Naylor JF, April MD, Thompson D, Kotwal RS, Schauer SG 20(4). 53 - 59 (Journal Article)

Background: Role 1 care represents all aspects of prehospital care on the battlefield. Recent conflicts and military operations conducted on behalf of the Global War on Terrorism have resulted in medical officers (MOs) being used nondoctrinally on combat missions. We are seeking to describe Role 1 trauma care provided by MOs and compare this care to that provided by medics. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of previously described data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry and the Department of Defense Trauma Registry from April 2003 through May 2019. Encounters were categorized by type of care provider (MO or medic). If both were documented, they were categorized as MO; those without either were excluded. Descriptive statistics were used. Results: A total of 826 casualty encounters met inclusion criteria. There were 418 encounters categorized as MO (57 with MO, 361 with MO and medic), and 408 encounters categorized as medic only. The composite injury severity score (median, interquartile range) was higher for casualties treated by the medic cohort (9, 3.5-17) than for the MO cohort (5, 2-9.5; P = .006). There was no difference in survival to discharge between the MO and medic groups (98.6% vs. 95.6%; P = .226). More life-saving interventions were performed by MOs compared to medics. MOs demonstrated a higher rate of vital sign documentation than medics. Conclusion: More than half of casualty encounters in this study listed an MO in the chain of care. The difference in proportion of interventions highlights differences in provider skills, training and equipment, or that interventions were dictated by differences in mechanisms of injury.

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