Medicine and War

…[T]he tremendous human costs of that war would have been much greater, were it not for breakthroughs in combat medicine deployed for the first time on a broad scale in Iraq.

4,486 American men and women were killed in the Iraq war. This represents approximately 14 percent of the 32,221 wounded in action — versus the 19 percent killed in Vietnam, or 27 percent killed in World War II…

The jump in the survival rate of servicemen and women wounded in Iraq partially explains two other phenomena initiated with the war in Iraq and accelerated by the war in Afghanistan: the seemingly outsized number of veterans suffering from obvious physical disability — and the seemingly unprecedented profusion of psychiatric illness, mostly in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, among wounded veterans.

Both phenomena are, paradoxically, the result of good medical news — of our military’s long, steady improvements in combat medicine.

From J.D. Kleinke.

Comments (6)

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  1. Buster says:

    It’s interesting how historically more soldiers died of noncombat-related events than in combat. It would be interesting to look at data from past wars, including the Civil War back to the wars in Medieval Europe. Before antibiotics, disease and exposure killed more people than arrows, clubs, edged weapons or bullets.

  2. Jonathan Selio says:

    This has made my day a whole lot better already! It gives me hope that perhaps sooner than later day they will start applying a similar approach as that one used with our troops…to better the quality of care provided on American soil. Hopefully?

  3. Gabriel Odom says:

    “It is to our great national shame that far more veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan die from suicide than combat.”

    We too often forget that wounds of the mind can be more dangerous than wounds of the body.

  4. Josh says:

    If we are in a war, we should make sure our service men and women continue to have the funding needed to make such medical advances possible.

  5. Patel says:

    I am happy that the army has cutting-edge medications to treat wounded individuals on site. But I know that many survivors struggle with post-traumatic disorder, so I do think better mental health services need to be provided for these individuals who have done so much for the country.

  6. Desai says:

    I concur with Patel, many soldiers, once returning from service, struggle with numerous mental struggles. That said, I do feel we need a more intricate care system that deals with mental traumas.