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Since antiquity, with respect to advancing the care of the injured, “war has been a very efficient schoolmaster.”1 Innovation in trauma care has once again accelerated, spurred by the significant burden of injury from more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
During those recent wars, the percentage of wounded service members who died of their injuries reached the lowest point in recorded wartime history—9.3% in Afghanistan and Iraq compared with 23% during the Vietnam War.2 Effective bleeding-control measures, improved resuscitation techniques, and aggressive neurocritical care interventions are among many advances that saved lives on the battlefield that otherwise would have been lost. For example, an estimated 1000 to 2000 lives were saved by widespread use of tourniquets.3
Berwick DM, Downey AS, Cornett EA. A National Trauma Care System to Achieve Zero Preventable Deaths After InjuryRecommendations From a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report. JAMA. 2016;316(9):927-928. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8524