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September 13, 1952


Author Affiliations

United States Army

JAMA. 1952;150(2):73-78. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680020007003

Physicians spend an endless amount of time determining the etiological agents and the pathogenesis of disease. This is intrinsic to their progress. In a world of armed conflict in which the interval between wars has assumed a startling brevity, it is cogent that physicians also be informed about modern firearms and their missiles, for these are the etiological agents of wounds. Indeed, it is fundamental that they have full knowledge of wound production, because the medical profession occupies a key position in unraveling the natural history of one of man's oldest scourges, the mortality and morbidity attendant on war. Furthermore, many of the challenging problems related to wound analysis of military casualties may suddenly be translated to the dread potential of mass civilian catastrophe.

Basically, a wound ballistic study is an analysis of the effects of the various firearms and their missiles on human tissues or tissues of experimental animals.