Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Blog #8: How Advances in Battlefield Medicine Can Save Civilians' Lives

This article is introducing to underdeveloped countries a strategically and efficiently way to help there near death injured civilians. Dr. Swaninatha Mahadevan who was conducting research at a Nepalese hospital. He gave an example of an older man that had been in a road accident and was thrown from a car. He was lying on a hospital gurney, and was bleeding to death. "But no one was doing anything about it", says Mahadevan, an emergency medicine professor at Stanford University. "In the States, this man would have had a whole team of doctors leaning over him." But in Nepal, there was no one because the hospital didn't have the staff or resources to save the man's life. Researchers in London believe they have the best solution for all of these underdeveloped countries suffering. They think tools developed for battlefield hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan can help fill in this gap. They want to adapt to wartime medical techniques to help civilians in poor countries, which often have high rates of traffic accidents, building collapses, fires and gun violence. With new technologies and some innovative tricks, Army medics have gotten really good at treating injured troops. Battlefield casualties have fall sharply, says Richard Sullivan, and epidemiologist at King's College London.

I think this really is a brilliant idea, and it makes me wonder why it hasn't been thought of before. Honestly it seems to perfect, within the article they bring up the major issues that cause the high mortality rates from injured civilians. One is that hospitals that have the ability to treat the injured civilians are so far away, by the time they get to the hospital the injured patient has bleed to death. Which brings up one of the tools they mentioned that is used on the battlefields, which face a similar issue of treatment being so far away. Many of the injuries cause major bleeding, military medics often rely on hemostatic powders. These powders can be directly poured over the wounds to stop the bleeding and you can have no experience to do this. It is also very low cost item to have, which is nice for these poor countries. Also another treatment that is used on patients who have lost limbs is tourniquets and they stop the bleeding where the limb was lost. The main reason for deaths is due to the distance to treatment centers, but if they keep these small items on hand in emergency vehicles until they make it too a hospital it makes a huge difference and saves lives.

Anna Hunsucker
8 April 2015

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