Global lessons: developing military trauma care and lessons for civilian practice

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Abstract

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped to shape the modern Defence Medical Services. Many lessons were learnt including the need for rapid haemorrhage control, senior decision-making and the evolution of deployed transfusion support. These changes were implemented simultaneously with a coherent, end-to-end medical plan from point of wounding through to rehabilitation. Implementation of the medical plan is harmonious with the NHS trauma pathway, and is key to ensuring effective delivery. Military anaesthetists have a long pre-deployment training pathway starting with a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in anaesthesia and/or critical care, and with an emphasis on military skills related to their specific role. Pre-deployment training includes additional skill training, team training and finally whole hospital collective training. This pathway ensures ongoing and continuing competence on an individual basis, and assurance that hospital management systems and clinical staff can function effectively as a deploying unit.

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