29 February 2012

Continuing Afghanistan Conflict More Severe Injuries Keep Landstuhl Busy

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany remains busy caring for war casualties in Afganistan. LRMC photo.

From U.S. Medicine:

While military action in Iraq may have ended in 2011, military medical centers such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany continue to be busy caring for seriously wounded from Afghanistan.

“Despite the fact that [the conflict in Iraq] is over, our numbers have actually not decreased considerably. … Even in June of last year, it was the 10th-busiest month in terms of casualties since the beginning of the conflict, so our numbers really haven’t significantly decreased,” Air Force Maj. David Zonies, MD, interim trauma director at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC), told U.S. Medicine.

In 2011, LRMC received 7,615 wounded troops from theater, with 202 of them from non-U.S. Coalition Forces. Overall, the complexity and severity of injuries seems to have increased.

“The injury patterns we saw from Iraq were more gunshot wounds and smaller explosives,” said Zonies. “In Afghanistan, the explosives that are used are, I presume, of a higher capacity because the amputations that are generated from the dismounted improvised explosive devices are causing severe lower extremity amputation, multiple extremity amputations, and, because of the high impact of the explosives to the lower legs, it creates injuries to the pelvis and perineum.”

In November, the Army released a report on dismounted complex-blast injuries detailing the severity of those injuries, which are defined as explosion-induced battle injuries sustained by a servicemember on foot patrol that involves traumatic amputation of one leg, at least a severe injury to the other leg and a possible pelvic, abdominal and/or genital or urinary injury. The report stated that the incidence of these injuries had increased during the last 15 months of combat in the Afghanistan and that the number of extremity injuries, to include major amputations, had exceeded that seen within Iraq at any point.

More at the link.

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