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Noncombat injury top reason for pediatric care by military surgeons in Afghanistan, Iraq
Date:5/1/2014

Chicago (May 1, 2014): Noncombat-related injurycaused by regular car accidents, falls and burnsis the most common reason for pediatric admissions to U.S. military combat hospitals in both Iraq and Afghanistan reveals new study findings published in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

In recent years, research has shown that Army hospitals treat a significant number of wounded and sick children in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the new analysis explores the nature of that care, determining how many children were treated for combat-related injuries versus noncombat-related injuries and illnesses (such as infections or elective operations).

"Many people are not aware of how many children we took care of in theater. But having seen war firsthand, I wanted to know the magnitude of what we had done over the last 12 years," said lead study author Lt. Col. Mary Edwards, MD, FACS, a surgeon in the department of surgery at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas. "We have to realize that this type of care is a big part of our mission, and so we have to figure out a way to do it in the best way possible."

The primary role of a combat military hospital is to care for all sick and wounded soldiers during wartime. However, the Geneva Convention specifies that an occupying force must ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the public health of the civilian population.

For the study, Dr. Edwards and her colleagues searched records from the U.S. Army's Patient Administration Systems and Biostatistics Activity (PASBA) database for all admissions in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the years 2002 through 2012.

This hospital database is unique in that aside from codes for admission, it includes codes for injury cause, such as gunshot wound or fire, and whether or not the injury was combat-related. It also gives detailed information on the weapon system that injured the patient.

After analyzing data
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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