WASHINGTON, DC—Complex, multiple injuries on the battlefield are increasing, particularly injuries to the arms, legs and genitalia, according to a new military report.
Military officials who were part of a task force charted by the Army Surgeon General to study dismounted complex blast injuries spoke about their findings yesterday at the Pentagon.
They said in 2009, there were 86 troops who had an amputation of which 23 had multiple limb loss. In 2010, there were 187 troops who suffered a major limb amputation, of those 72 had multiple limb loss. So far this year there have been 147 troops who had a limb amputation. Of these, 77 troops have had multiple limb loss, they said.
The largest number of troops who sustained a limb loss or a devastating lower extremity injury were “dismounted,” rather than in a vehicle, according to Army Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, chair of the Dismounted Complex Blast Injury Task Force.
Officials also confirmed that genital injuries have risen significantly, but they did not have specific data.
Caravalho said dismounted complex blast injuries are explosion-induced battle injuries sustained by a servicemember on foot patrol that involves traumatic amputation of one leg, at least a severe injury to the other leg, and a possible pelvic, abdominal and/or genital or urinary injury.
“These are life-defining injuries for these warriors and for their families, but it is not desperate. All of us in uniform understand it is not just about saving lives; it is about doing everything military medicine can do to help them lead full and productive lives,” he said.
The authors of the report identified 92 recommendations to improve care.
The report was done because of the recognition of an increasing frequency of individuals with multiple limb amputations and an increasing frequency of individuals with genital/urinary injuries, Caravalho explained.