The Pentagon says medical readiness was a casualty after downsizing healthcare

Todd Rasmussen’s First Year in the Air Force: Trauma Surgery at the Mayo Clinic, Northern Virginia, Three Years Before 9/11

The Air Force put Todd Rasmussen through medical school, and he planned to serve a while and then go into private practice at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He started his military career as a vascular surgeon in Northern Virginia, a few weeks before Sept. 11, 2001.

“You could sort of see smoke from the Pentagon. I thought, boy, my military career as a surgeon … He recalls that it will be vastly different than he thought.

The casualty numbers soared to the highest rates since Vietnam, as Rasmussen switched to trauma surgery. At first, the way patients arrived within days from the war zone thousands of miles away amazed him. That wore off though, when he realized patients weren’t getting care soon enough. By the time they reached the U.S., their wounds were contaminated and sometimes too late to treat without amputation.

When did you lose a soldier? How did you recover? And what did you do in the Army? A veteran medical officer’s perspective

He says it’s hard to admit that we let someone down and that someone was a service member. “And so, you know, it’s hard to admit we could have done better. Maybe the only worse thing is not admitting it.

Now Rasmussen and other veteran medical officers warn that U.S. military health care again needs a course correction. After a decade of downsizing, Defense Department officials also admit they need to rebuild the medical force and the general health of active duty troops. But restoring medical readiness to where it was during the last war, much less where is needs to be for the next one, is a by all accounts a herculean task.

“I remember one U.S. service member who came to us … by helicopter from the front lines in Fallujah. He was operating on by a group of surgeons near the front line. I think the assumption was that we would need to amputate this limb because of the extent of the soft tissue injury in the thigh,” he says.

In past wars, a wound like that would have denied the lower leg blood flow for too long, leaving no option but amputation. The front line doctors used a temporary shunt that was 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 on closer inspection. Essentially, they stuck a plastic straw into the thigh to keep blood flowing around the wound, saving the leg.

Why is there a military medical academy? Why did American troops and Congress join the Army to protect themselves during World War II, after downsizing healthcare for years?

There were attempts to hire people who would be outsourcing the work. beneficiary care from the military treatment facilities to civilian institutions, which emptied out and hollowed out storied military medical centers like Walter Reed,” he says.

Pentagon officials even floated an idea to close the Uniform Services University, the military’s medical school, which trains-up military doctors and preserves medical advances, like those made during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why is there a military medical academy? Rasmussen jokes.

“They achieved the highest rate of survival from battlefield wounds in the history of warfare. They were able to save people that would have died in any prior conflict,” says Dr. Art Kellerman, who served as dean of the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences during the threats to shut it down.

Kellerman frames it as a national security priority. He says as much as a helmet or flak jacket, the success of U.S. military medicine gave troops confidence to rush into a firefight, knowing they would probably survive. U.S. allies joined the fight knowing a U.S. medevac would fly to the rescue within 30 minutes if they got blown up. What’s more, Kellerman says, those in the fight believed they’d not just survive, but live well.

“They dramatically improved their ability to rehabilitate wounded warriors after being injured. Many of them were allowed to return to work after being away from their families while others were able to return to their home and continue working for the rest of their careers. He says many of them are members of Congress.

Source: After downsizing healthcare for years, Pentagon says medical readiness was a casualty

The golden hour was never going to happen, but the human system is going to be important: a comment by Sean Murphy, who retired from the Air Force in 2021

Military strategists caution that generals often try to refight their last war, but America’s next war may be different. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the golden hour was possible because the U.S. had air superiority; the enemy had no planes or helicopters.

We aren’t going to have air superiority soon. According to Dr. Sean Murphy, who retired from the Air Force in 2021, if we think we are, we should plan for not having it.

“What we’ve realized when we start looking at a theater like the Pacific, and the distances and a peer-to-peer fight, there is no way we’re going to get to the golden hour. So if we’re not going to be able to get a surgeon or somebody to the golden hour, then what we have to do is … to make everybody a medic,” he says.

The human system is the most important fighting system. It’s not a plane or a ship or a tank,” says Rasmussen. He says he saw that again and again when he served.

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