Attrition: Let It Bleed


June 10,2008: As was the case during earlier wars, the fighting in Iraq has led to advances in emergency room medical techniques. This is because in wartime, you get more of the very severe injuries that are much more rare in civilian hospitals. Because not all emergency room teams treat the same injury exactly the same way, it's possible to discover better techniques are superior, because of these variations in treatment. This time around, nearly all medical records are stored electronically, which allows for quick statistical analysis to spot promising new developments. For this reason, the ratio of wounded to killed was 6 in Vietnam, compared to 7.3 for Iraq.

One of the more interesting findings was that it's better to not try and replace and immediately all the blood lost to a severely wounded soldier. That's because lower blood pressure makes it easier to find where all the bleeding is coming from, and stop it.


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