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US Military rethinking `golden hour` for injuries

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 17:47

Camp Bastion (Afghanistan): The US military
is rethinking its "golden hour" goal for critically injured
troops, questioning whether it should spend a little longer evacuating patient to get them to a better hospital.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates has been adamant that
troops in Afghanistan, where the craggy terrain makes medical
evacuations difficult, get help as quickly as those in Iraq.

Wounded troops in Iraq generally are reached, stabilized
and hospitalized within what medical providers call the
"golden hour" the time it generally takes to deliver care
needed to save a person`s life.

But at the base hospital located on what Afghans call the
"desert of death," doctors today told Marine Corps Commandant
Gen James Conway that it`s better to make sure patients who
are wounded in battle zones get the best care possible, rather
than be taken to the closest medical facility.

"Seventy minutes to the right place is better than 50
minutes to the wrong place," said Navy Capt Joseph Rappolo, a
trauma surgeon.

Conway, in Afghanistan visiting troops, said he could
agree as long as emergency evacuation teams on the scene
provide some care first.

The Bastion hospital treats about 200 patients each week.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 17:47
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