Battlefield Medical Innovation Goes A Long Way

Medical technology has come a long way after more than decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. These innovative methods developed on the ground have led to advances in caring for the sick and injured at home, he said. Speaking at a Reserve Officer Association event last week, Woodson said that the trauma system and other advances of combat medicine have contributed to the lowest death rate in the history of recorded warfare, according to a March 6 release. However, it’s also created greater challenges in rehabilitation. He noted that combat care goes beyond treating physical wounds; brain or spinal cord injuries, pain management issues, and sensory loss are all issues that may need to be addressed during the rehabilitation process, he said. “We need to customize the rehabilitation strategy to the individual,” he said. “Our mantra is to ‘create the ability, not define disability.’” (DOD report by Terri Moon Cronk)