Causes of Death in US Special Operations Forces in the GWOT 2001-2004

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Boondocksaint375

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Causes of Death in U.S. Special Operations Forces in the Global War on Terrorism
2001–2004

John B. Holcomb, MD,* Neil R. McMullin, MD,* Lisa Pearse, MD,† Jim Caruso, MD,† Charles E. Wade, PhD,* Lynne Oetjen-Gerdes, MA,† Howard R. Champion, FRCS,‡ Mimi Lawnick, RN,* Warner Farr, MD,§ Sam Rodriguez, BS,§ and Frank K. Butler, MD
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From the *U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Ft. Sam Houston, TX; †Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Rockville, MD; ‡Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; §U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Ft. Bragg, NC; and
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U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL.

Abstract


Background:

Effective combat trauma management strategies depend upon an understanding of the epidemiology of death on the battlefield.



Methods:

A panel of military medical experts reviewed photographs and autopsy and treatment records for all Special Operations Forces (SOF) who died between October 2001 and November 2004 (n = 82). Fatal wounds were classified as nonsurvivable or potentially survivable. Training and equipment available at the time of injury were taken into consideration. A structured analysis was conducted to identify equipment, training, or research requirements for improved future outcomes.



Results:

Five (6%) of 82 casualties had died in an aircraft crash, and their bodies were lost at sea; autopsies had been performed on all other 77 soldiers. Nineteen deaths, including the deaths at sea were noncombat; all others were combat related. Deaths were caused by explosions (43%), gunshot wounds (28%), aircraft accidents (23%), and blunt trauma (6%). Seventy of 82 deaths (85%) were classified as nonsurvivable; 12 deaths (15%) were classified as potentially survivable. Of those with potentially survivable injuries, 16 causes of death were identified: 8 (50%) truncal hemorrhage, 3 (19%) compressible hemorrhage, 2 (13%) hemorrhage amenable to tourniquet, and 1 (6%) each from tension pneumothorax, airway obstruction, and sepsis. The population with nonsurvivable injuries was more severely injured than the population with potentially survivable injuries. Structured analysis identified improved methods of truncal hemorrhage control as a principal research requirement.



Conclusions:


The majority of deaths on the modern battlefield are nonsurvivable. Improved methods of intravenous or intracavitary, noncompressible hemostasis combined with rapid evacuation to surgery may increase survival.


For the complete report, go here:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1876965
 

DA SWO

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Interesting.
Non-Hostile aircraft crashes continue to be a leading cause of death. Most folks probably don't view that part of the mission profile as being the most hazardous, yet it apparently is.
 

AssadUSMC

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Interesting.
Non-Hostile aircraft crashes continue to be a leading cause of death. Most folks probably don't view that part of the mission profile as being the most hazardous, yet it apparently is.

I think about it every time I go up... In a 30-day period, I might be up 14-18 missions. I'm just glad MANPADS aren't prevalent.
 

QC

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Also interesting is in warfare of the past, to wound a soldier caused more of a problem as he would have to be cared for, thus soaking up more man hours to do so. Whereas with a death there was not a lot of admin to do.
Disease was also a big factor which is pretty much absent in the stats except for sepsis, one case.
 

midnight

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As far as disease related to death from combat threw 2007 it's 12% DOW, infections and complications of shock.

31% penetrating head trauma
25% surgically uncorrectable torso trauma
10% ptentially correctable surgical trauma
9% exsanguination from external wounds
7% mutilating blast trauma
5% tension pneumothorax
1% airway

preventable causes of death

60% bleeding to death from extremity wounds
33% tension pneumothorax
6% airway

That's all deaths not just SOF.
 

Muppet

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As far as disease related to death from combat threw 2007 it's 12% DOW, infections and complications of shock.

31% penetrating head trauma
25% surgically uncorrectable torso trauma
10% ptentially correctable surgical trauma
9% exsanguination from external wounds
7% mutilating blast trauma
5% tension pneumothorax
1% airway

preventable causes of death

60% bleeding to death from extremity wounds
33% tension pneumothorax
6% airway

That's all deaths not just SOF.


And that is where TCCC has come into play, as I am sure out current warriors can atest too. I an a consultant for some medics around here regarding SWAT medicine and I tell them to ALWAYS have a T-Q, chest seal and airways. Of course they don't listen because I am not on the team because of a bad knee and they think they know it all. Never mind TCCC! Doesn't apply to civilian medicine.:doh::p:mad:

F.M.
 

txpj007

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And that is where TCCC has come into play, as I am sure out current warriors can atest too. I an a consultant for some medics around here regarding SWAT medicine and I tell them to ALWAYS have a T-Q, chest seal and airways. Of course they don't listen because I am not on the team because of a bad knee and they think they know it all. Never mind TCCC! Doesn't apply to civilian medicine.:doh::p:mad:

F.M.

thats just ignorance on there part...hate to see them come to there senses one day from the loss of a teammate that couldve been saved.
 

txpj007

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Interesting.
Non-Hostile aircraft crashes continue to be a leading cause of death. Most folks probably don't view that part of the mission profile as being the most hazardous, yet it apparently is.

lost quite a few buddies that way...some were lucky enough survive which is crazy in itself. fall 2000' out the sky and live...f'n crazy
 
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