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New Technology Improves Care for Wounded Troops

Drawing on new technologies as well as lessons learned in Iraq, the U.S. military is using both new technology and improved methods to treat wounded soldiers, leading to higher survival rates overall. Tom Bearden reports on these advances.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, a health unit report on advances in the treatment of wounded soldiers. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden has the story. The Health Unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent:

    The 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq's Green Zone is rarely quiet. Medical staff here at the world's busiest military trauma facility work day and night to aid soldiers, airmen and Marines who are injured in the field.

    Thanks to new technologies and procedures used here and throughout the military medical system, the approximately 30,000 soldiers who've been wounded during the Iraq war have had a far better chance of surviving than in the past.

    During the American Revolution, 42 percent of the injured died; in World War II, it was 30 percent; Vietnam, 25 percent. Today, 90 percent recover.

    Colonel John Holcomb is the commander of the Institute of Surgical Research at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

    COL. JOHN HOLCOMB, Commander, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research: I think there's been a number of advances on this battlefield compared to ones even 5 to 10 years ago, and they are not one single area. It's training, medical equipment, deployment of forces on the battlefield, all combined, body armor, so protection both in vehicles and on personal protection, that have come together to allow us to have the highest survival rate in any war we've ever been in.

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