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January 16, 1991

State of 'Desert Shield' Military Medicine at Deadline Time in the Middle East Crisis

JAMA. 1991;265(3):311. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460030013005

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THIS ISSUE of JAMA is reaching readers at the deadline time—set by the United Nations' Security Council—for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. At the same time, many of the US military people who are positioned to enforce the deadline, in combat if necessary, are entering their sixth month of duty in the Middle East without placing excessively heavy demands on their medical system.

So far, more than 80 US service people have been killed in accidents associated with this "Desert Shield" deployment. Perhaps four to five times that many have been evacuated to the 11 military hospitals maintained by the US Army and Air Force in the western part of Germany (JAMA. 1989;261:2774-2775) because of illnesses or injuries.

The number of US military medical people in the region has never been announced but, by this time, may be approaching 15 000 or more, including enlisted corpsmen who are trained to