Preparedness of Orthopaedic Surgeons for Modern Battlefield Surgery
Source: Military Medicine, Volume 177, Number 9, September 2012 , pp. 1058-1064(7)
Over 220 U.S. Army orthopaedic surgeons have deployed during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). This study documents the orthopaedic procedures performed during the GWOT and identifies training that prepared surgeons for deployment. It reveals deficiencies in surgeons' preparedness and intends to improve predeployment training. All surgeons deployed during the GWOT from 2001 to 2007 were surveyed. Questions fit 4 general categories: deployment demographics, medical and surgical experiences, predeployment preparation, and self-perceived preparedness during deployment. Response rate was 70%. Surgeons averaged 138 adult operative cases and 26 pediatric cases per deployment. All surgeons performed irrigation and debridement, 94% external fixation, 93% amputations, 89% arthrotomies, 86% open reduction and internal fixation, and 76% soft-tissue coverage procedures. Residency and fellowship contributed most to surgeon preparedness for deployment. Surgeons generally reported high levels of preparedness, but nearly 1 in 6 reported low levels of medical, surgical and physical preparedness. More reported low levels of mental preparedness. Soft-tissue coverage was the most frequently reported surgical deficiency. This study documents the number and types of orthopaedic procedures performed during the GWOT and identifies the self-perceived preparedness deficiencies of surgeons in a combat environment. Improvements in predeployment training are needed to better prepare surgeons for managing battlefield causalities.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Munson Army Health Center, 550 Pope Avenue, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027. 2: Brigham Foot & Ankle Center, 1153 Centre Street, Suite 56, Boston, MA 02130. 3: Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, 315 Medical Parkway, Suite 100, Greer, SC 29650. 4: §Madigan Army Medical Center, 9040A Fitzsimmons Avenue, MCHJ-SOP, Tacoma, WA 98431. 5: Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Brooke Army Medical Center, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234.
Publication date: September 2012
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Military Medicine is the Association's official monthly journal. The objective of the Journal is to promote awareness of Federal medicine by providing a forum for responsible discussion of common ideas and problems relevant to Federal healthcare. Its mission is: To increase healthcare education by providing scientific and other information to its readers; to facilitate communication; and to offer a prestige publication for members' writings.
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