Combat Care Medical Innovations

Military advances in combat care have reduced battlefield mortality. Many of these advances are now being used in the civilian sector. New therapeutic devices and drugs can provide treatment options for critically injured trauma victims.

Combat casualties challenge technologies that can help combat medics treat patients quickly and effectively are vital. The “golden hour” is a well-known window in trauma response. In military settings, treating injuries during the golden hour presents unique challenges due to the severity of the injuries suffered.

Wound Simulations for Medics In Training

Realistic, wearable wound simulations aid medics-in-training at the U.S. Army Research and Development Command’s Severe Trauma Simulation program. The quick donning and doffing of the wounds, without make-up or adhesives, maximizes your training time. The depth of the wounds allows trainees to practice hemorrhage control skills beyond simple bandaging. Military-medic-trainers connect lifelike human limbs and body wounds to devices that simulate blood flow, then attach them to mannequins or live actors for realistic battlefield exercises. Most scenarios emphasize the need to diagnose and stabilize a wounded soldier within the first 10 minutes after an injury. Rapid treatment has been proven to have the greatest effect on a wounded soldier’s chances of survival in combat.

CRoC Combat Ready Clamp for Hemorrhage Control on Battlefield

Femoral artery bleeds are among the worst in combat. Traditional tourniquets, because of their ease of use and immediate benefit, have been lifesavers for countless soldiers injured in battle. Yet, there are large areas of the body where a tourniquet is simply not useful, like the neck, groin, and abdomen. The Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC) is already in the hands of medics in Afghanistan. The CRoC is an ideal device for increasing soldier survivability by addressing difficult hemorrhages., Hemorrhage is the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. The CRoC can be used in a tactical environment where traditional methods of hemorrhage control are not possible and standard tourniquets cannot be applied.

Traumatic Brain Assessment

A Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or penetrating head injury that disrupts the brain function. The Defense Department’s standard for clinical assessment of mild traumatic brain injury is (MACE) Military Acute Concussion Evaluation. This year the DOD redesigned MACE and the “Concussion Management in Deployed Settings” clinical algorithms, two critical tools used in conjunction with clinical judgment to help combat medics, healthcare providers and initial providers.

Communication Technology Innovations

Throughout U.S. history, advances in military capability have been fueled by innovation. All branches of the military consistently have managed to use technology in new and creative ways to gain an edge over the enemy.

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command has awarded a contract with the Arlington Innovation Center for Health Research to develop the MedicPhone, a field smartphone for military medics. The MedicPhone will likely be slightly larger and more robust than a cell phone, and will enable military medics to monitor patients without the equipment footprint usually associated with an intensive care unit.

Army medicine has come a long way since the days of unleashing leeches to let blood and killing pain with toxic chloroform, two trademarks of Civil War-era battlefield medicine. Within the past 11 years military medicine has achieved a 90 percent survival rate for troops wounded in combat. Military researchers and physicians have perfected techniques and created innovative ways to save limbs, tissue, minds and lives. We salute all military healthcare professionals.

-Military Connection staff writer Carol Miraula.