Excerpt of Article on Medical Express
Over the past 15 years, more than 330,000 U.S. soldiers have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is one of the leading causes of death and disability connected to the country’s recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of these patients were evacuated by air from these countries to Europe and the U.S. for further treatment. In general, these patients were flown quickly to hospitals outside the battle zone, where more extensive treatment was available.
But now a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine has found evidence that such air evacuations may pose a significant added risk, potentially causing more damage to already injured brains. The study is the first to suggest that air evacuation may be hazardous for TBI patients. The study was published today in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
About a quarter of all injured soldiers evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered head injuries
Although the study shows an air evacuation may cause further damage, my guess is there is no benefit to keeping a brain-injured soldier is the battle zone where proper treatment and therapy cannot be provided. The benefits of prompt treatment may significantly outweigh the potential detriments of an air evacuation. I cannot imagine a wounded vet would choose a lengthy, timely, and rough land evacuation rather than a prompt and painless air evacuation. Furthermore, land transportation may not be viable in a hostile environment.
Thank you to the researchers from University of Maryland, School of Medicine for conducting the study; Journal of Neurotrauma for publishing the study, Medical Express for committing its resources to an article about the study; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture and text in this post.