Collaboration across specialties and lessons from combat casualty care contributed to the effective treatment of the victims of the Boston bombings, according to an editorial published in The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

The authors wrote that “prepositioned collaborative care” between surgical specialties can provide an effective model for responding to mass casualty events, such as the bombings that occurred in Boston on April 15 that killed three people and injured hundreds.

The authors also emphasized the use of combat casualty care in civilian settings. The Tactical Combat Casualty Care course, which was created based on the medical expertise gained in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, stresses the use of tourniquets to control hemorrhage from missing and injured limbs. Other important techniques include the use of quick-clotting military combat gauze to stop bleeding in places that a tourniquet cannot be used, such as the neck or groin; blood-clotting drugs for internal bleeding; fracture splinting and emergency airway management.

“All of these lifesaving lessons should be incorporated into our civilian mindset when we were dealing with casualties of a potential terrorist attack,” the authors wrote. “If there is any overarching lesson, it is that multidisciplinary teamwork, preparation and dedication are the keys to success in effectively dealing with a mass casualty event. It is important to perform an assessment of performance after such an event to use and disseminate knowledge to make these attacks less effective by making our responses more efficient and effective.”

For more information:

Caterson EJ. J Craniofac Surg. 2013. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31829ff967

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