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March 31, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(13):1168-1169. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960480068020

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To the Editor:—  The amount of blood needed to support the medical service that is charged with care of casualties in an area bombarded with nuclear weapons would seem to be a proper subject for guesswork, but, still, it is susceptible to some analysis if we know what sort of medical service is possible within present knowledge and with present tools. Perhaps the most important thing to recognize in the situation is that we cannot project our requirements for blood or anything else from a basis of experience in conventional warfare. The combat zone in modern warfare is a highly complex and well-organized area occupied by a smoothly functioning organism, the combat army. The medical service of this army is almost always "on top of its environment," retrieving, evacuating, and caring for its wounded in an effective fashion. Atomic detonation over an inhabited area instantly demolishes the social organism and,

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