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COL Dallas Hack, MD: Survival Rates from Combat Wounds Keep Increasing

Survival Rates from Combat Wounds Keep Increasing

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People with major trauma, missing legs, missing arms, massive body injuries--in the past that used to cause death. But now, because of the body protection that we provide and because we have the medical care so far forward and improved care itself--not just its availability, but the care itself has improved-- that we have people surviving that never would have survived. Our survival rates from battlefield injuries are at an all-time high despite the fact that these are grievous wounds. One of the measures is survival rate once they reach the hospital and then survival rate from the time of injury, so both the--what's called the killed in action and then the died of wounds rate. And so once they reach the hospital, we have survival rates that are generally in the 95% category. The survival rate from wounding-- so if they're not killed instantly and they actually receive medical care-- that survival rate is up over 90%. That is as opposed to times like Vietnam, where it was down in the 80s and, obviously, in Korea and World War II it was much lower than that. It was in the 60s and 70s back then. The improvement--despite the fact that what we call injury severity scores, where we go and quantify the kinds of injuries, are actually, even during this conflict, are getting worse, our survival rates continue to improve.

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Despite grievous wounds, including brain injury, survival rates are at an all-time high because of improved body protection and medical care from theater to hospital.


Produced by Ashley Gilleland and Noel Gunther, BrainLine.

Col. Dallas Hack, MDCol. Dallas Hack, MD, Col. Dallas C. Hack, MD is director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program and chair, Joint Program Committee 6 (Combat Casualty Care), U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MD.

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