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Free Content United Kingdom Military Aeromedical Evacuation in the Post-9/11 Era

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Patterson CM, Woodcock T, Mollan IA, Nicol ED, McLoughlin DC. United Kingdom military aermedical evacuation in the post-9/11 era. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:1005–12.

Background: Recent UK military operations in support of the fight against terrorism have resulted in UK military casualties. Movement of these casualties through the military medical chain requires a highly sophisticated aeromedical evacuation capability with worldwide reach. Recognition of the determinants of evacuation allows development to ensure optimal future configurations of military aeromedical evacuation services. Methods: The database recording aeromedical evacuations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was searched to provide demographic and clinical data for evacuations between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2010. Diagnoses leading to evacuation were categorized according to International Classification of Diseases codes. Results: There were 21,477 medical evacuations undertaken. Analysis demonstrated 85.9% were for men and 86.5% were for military personnel, of whom 72.0% were in the army. The most common reasons for evacuation in military patients were musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders (N = 9192; 50.0%), trauma (N = 1303; 7.1%), and mental health disorders (N = 1151; 6.3%). The most common reasons for evacuation in nonmilitary patients were musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders (N = 734; 23.8%), genitourinary disorders (N = 325; 10.5%), and circulatory disorders (N = 255; 8.3%). Nontraumatic diagnoses were the determinants of evacuation in 92.9% of military and 95.1% of nonmilitary patients; 17.8% of trauma patients and 0.5% of nontrauma patients utilized high-dependency care. Discussion: The UK aeromedical evacuation system must have the capacity to evacuate large numbers of patients with nontraumatic diagnoses, but also the flexibility to accommodate smaller, more variable numbers of higher dependency trauma patients. The military medical chain must continually review the differing requirements of civilian patients transferred within their aeromedical system.

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Keywords: disease/nonbattle injury; operational medicine; operational trauma; patient transport

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tactical Medical Wing, Royal Air Force, RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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