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New Strategy Trains All Soldiers in Trauma Care
Date:8/16/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- During a firefight in Afghanistan, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger, picked up a live grenade and threw it away to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. As he did, the grenade exploded, blowing off his right hand. A bleeding Petry, who'd also been shot in both legs, stopped the bleeding by tying his own tourniquet.

"He probably saved his own life by doing it," said Dr. Russ Kotwal, deputy surgeon and medical training officer with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Petry -- who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama last month -- learned how to tie a tourniquet as part of a new strategy for preventing battlefield deaths. Called Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), the strategy includes training all military personnel -- not just medics -- on the basics of emergency trauma care and giving each soldier a kit that contains lifesaving supplies such as pressure dressings and tourniquets.

"If you have 50 guys going out on a mission, you want all 50 of those guys trained to use their weapons, even medics," Kotwal said. "So wouldn't you want everybody trained on the basics of medical care as well? You are trying to kill the enemy and you are also trying to save lives."

According to a new study, TCCC is working. Petry was a member of the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, among the first in the U.S. military to implement TCCC, said Kotwal, a former battalion and regiment medical officer who has been deployed 12 times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Between October 2001 and March 2010, 419 of the 3,500-strong regiment were injured during battles in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Of those, 10.7 percent of those injured were killed in action, meaning they died before they were able to get to a hospital. That's significantly better than the 16.4 percent of the casualties who were killed in action from the rest of the military.<
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