Background En route care is the transfer of patients requiring combat casualty care within the US military evacuation system. No reports have been published about en route care of patients during transfer from a forward surgical facility (role 2) to a combat support hospital (role 3) for comprehensive care.
Objective To describe patients transferred from a role 2 to a role 3 US military treatment facility in Afghanistan.
Methods A retrospective review of data from the Joint Trauma System Role 2 Database was conducted. Patient characteristics were described by en route care medical attendants.
Results More than one-fourth of patients were intubated at transfer (26.9%), although at transfer fewer than 10% of patients had a base deficit of more than 5 (3.5%), a pH of less than 7.3 (5.2%), an international normalized ratio of more than 2 (0.8%), or temporary abdominal or chest closure (7.4%). The en route care medical attendant was most often a nurse (35.5%), followed by technicians (14.1%) and physicians (10.0%). Most patients (75.3%) were transported by medical evacuation (on rotary-wing aircraft).
Conclusion This is the first comprehensive review of patients transported from a forward surgical facility to a more robust combat support hospital in Afghanistan. Understanding the epidemiology of these patients will inform provider training and the appropriate skill mix for the transfer of postsurgical patients within a combat setting.