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March 9, 1994

Review of The Face of Mercy

Author Affiliations

Walter Reed Army Medical Center Washington, DC

JAMA. 1994;271(10):749. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510340039030

To the Editor.  —In the review1 of The Face of Mercy there is a serious error. The statement is made that 1.8% of soldiers hospitalized in Vietnam for the treatment of combat injuries died. The actual figure, based on data compiled by the Department of Defense in 1976, is 3.5%.2 Among hospitalized casualties, 3520 soldiers died of their wounds and 96811 soldiers survived. The 1.8% figure, which is a statistical artifact, comes from adding to the number of actually hospitalized casualties the 104 725 soldiers who sustained minor wounds that required either no treatment at all or treatment that did not require hospitalization.3The sad truth is that there is little difference between the hospital mortality figures from the end of World War II (3.0% in the US Army in Germany in 1945) and those from Vietnam. Furthermore, it has to be remembered that for every one

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