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Bringing Innovations from Military Medicine to Civilian Brain Injury Care

Bringing Innovations from Military Medicine to Civilian Brain Injury Care

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[Dr. Anand Veeravagu] In the case of the military, when we have a traumatic injury on the battlefield, the military has really understood how to make sure that they deliver high-end and acute care to patients right there on the battlefield. I think that's one thing that has resulted in a number of lives saved. There are statistics that describe if service members are able to make it to a military hospital, they have a 98% chance of survival. That, I think, is in part due to the fact that they're able to get very, very high level medical care down to the area of the injury, and that's one thing that I think will be translated into how EMTs treat patients in our cities, or how ambulance and paramedics are trained so that they can handle acute situations that may occur all around the United States. That's sort of just one example of the many advancements that they've been able to make. With respect to traumatic brain injury, it's sort of a new frontier for science and for clinical care. We've known about traumatic brain injury for a long time— hundreds of years—but I think really only in the last 20 years or so we've gotten an understanding of how best to treat patients and really how best to recognize patients who might have suffered a traumatic brain injury. The military, over the course of ten long years of war, has really tried to understand the critical components of diagnosis, treatment, and also rehabilitation. Out of this has come centers like the Intrepid Center in Walter Reed, which is capable of shepherding somebody through traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, and I think some of the therapy that has been gleaned from that experience will be very valuable to the civilian community.

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Dr. Anand Veeravagu talks about how the military's ability to deliver high-end acute care on the battlefield can benefit paramedics and EMTs handling acute care in the civilian world.

See more video clips with Dr. Anand Veeravagu.


Produced by Christian Lindstrom and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine Military.

Anand Veeravagu, MDAnand Veeravagu, MD is a neurosurgeon in training at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a former White House fellow and special assistant to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He previously served as chief neurosurgery resident at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital.

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