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May 30, 1966

Medicine's Wars in Vietnam

JAMA. 1966;196(9):29-31. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100220015004

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In medical terms, the war in Vietnam is now sufficiently large to compare with the combined tasks of a dozen major US medical centers.

United States armed services medical hospitals in this Asian nation now number 8 with a capacity of many hundreds of beds.

An estimated 500 military and over 100 civilian US physicians are facing medical dilemmas that are both traditional and unique in the recent history of war.

These problems, hopefully, reflect areas where new techniques, concepts and knowledge will have an eventual impact on civilian medicine.

They include: traumatic surgery, patient evacuation, rapid diagnosis of strange diseases, treatment of drug-resistant malaria and shock.

Last summer's increase in what tacticians call "the tempo of the war" multiplied medical efforts and problems in kind. For example, 4,000 wounded per month are being moved in helicopter operations alone. An increase over the previous year of nearly 3.5 times the

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