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March 2014

No Drift

Author Affiliations
  • 1The US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Joint Base Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio), Texas
  • 2The Norman M. Rich Department of Surgery, The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3currently with US Combat Casualty Care Research Program, Fort Detrick, Maryland
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(3):221-222. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3206

Drift: deviation from a true representation, or reading; especially: a gradual change in the zero reading in any quantitative characteristic that is supposed to remain constant

Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary

There should be no drift from commitment to military trauma care and combat casualty care research. An abundance of articles in the lay press have recently described the heroic efforts made to save shattered lives and limbs following the explosive events at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.13 Recognition of the extreme burden of injury stemming from malicious acts on US soil provides sage perspective on the value of medical advances made during war and their translation to civilian trauma care.47 The burden of injury resulting from the improvised explosive devices in Boston, Massachusetts, underscores the importance of the military’s experience in managing and researching complex blast injury. The nation’s investment in combat casualty care research since 2001 has resulted in the most advanced trauma system in history and the lowest case fatality rate recorded in war.8 Equally relevant today, the results of military trauma research have translated life-saving lessons into civilian practice.6 More than ever, there should be no drift from the nation’s commitment to military trauma care and combat casualty care research.

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