Tactical Combat Casualty Care Maritime Scenario: Shipboard Missile Strike

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Butler FK, Burkholder T, Chernenko M, Chimiak J, Chung J, Cubano M, Gurney J, Hall AB, Holcomb JB, Kotora J, Lenart M, Long A, Papalski W, Rich TA, Tripp M, Shackelford SA, Tadlock MD, Timby JW, Drew B 22(2). 9 - 28 (Journal Article)

The types of injuries seen in combat action on a naval surface ship may be similar in many respects to the injuries seen in ground combat, and the principles of care for those injuries remain in large part the same. However, some contradistinctions in the care of combat casualties on a ship at sea must be highlighted, since this care may entail a number of unique challenges and different wounding patterns. This paper presents a scenario in which a guided missile destroyer is struck by a missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by an undetermined hostile entity. Despite the presence of casualties who require care, the primary focus of a naval vessel that has just been damaged by hostile action is to prevent the ship from sinking and to conserve the fighting force on board the ship to the greatest extent possible. The casualties in this scenario include sailors injured by both blast and burns, as well as a casualty with a non-fatal drowning episode. Several of the casualties have also suffered the effects of a nearby underwater explosion while immersed. Challenges in the care of these casualties include delays in evacuation, the logistics of obtaining whole blood for transfusion while at sea, and transporting the casualties to the next higher level of care aboard a Casualty Receiving and Treatment Ship. As the National Defense Strategy pivots to a focus on the potential for maritime combat, the medical community must continue to maintain readiness by preparing fo

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