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Rehabilitation and Recovery Challenges Facing Severely Injured Service Members

Col. Paul Pasquina, MD

Since military operations began in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Military Health Care System has provided care for over 16,000 severely injured service members, including over 900 men and women with major limb loss. Improved body armor, advanced forward area resuscitation capabilities, and rapid medical evacuation techniques have contributed to improved survival rates, which are unparalleled in history. Given the nature f these injuries, however, many service members have returned from overseas with complex multi-trauma, including extensive soft tissue damage, multiple fractures, internal organ damage, traumatic brain injury, sensory loss, paralysis, and mental health disturbances. These conditions have created great challenges for medical, surgical and rehabilitation professionals who are committed to delivering optimal strategies to help these heroes achieve their maximal physical, psychological and emotional function. The full reintegration of these heroes back to military service or their community is of national interest, necessitating the development of public-private partnership and challenging the researcher community to constantly develop improved practices and technology to meet the demands of a new generation of veterans.

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Last modified: Nov 09, 2009, 22:06 EST
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