Transforming an academic military treatment facility into a trauma center: lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom

Eric A Elster, Jonathan P Pearl, John W DeNobile, Philip W Perdue, Alexander Stojadinovic, William A Liston, James R Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: To manage the influx of patients with predominately extremity injuries from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), our center was required to transform from a nontrauma academic hospital to a trauma hospital by using a multidisciplinary approach.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective chart review was performed of casualties from OIF who were received over 14 months.

RESULTS: A total of 313 casualties were received. The average number of admissions was 16 per month, except during November 2004, when there were 88 admissions over 7 days. The mean ISS for all patients was 14.1 +/- 10.3. A total of 113 patients (36%) required admission to the intensive care unit for an average of 7.5 +/- 5.2 days. The mean interval between injury and arrival in the continental United States was 6.5 +/- 4.6 days. Most casualties suffered multisystem trauma, with extremity injuries predominating. The multidisciplinary approach to casualty care consisted of several meetings a week and included everyone involved in caring for these combat casualties.

CONCLUSIONS: A multidisciplinary approach transformed an existing medical center into a trauma receiving hospital capable of managing and maintaining a surge in patient admissions resulting in minimal morbidity and mortality. This model further supports a multidisciplinary approach to trauma care and could serve as a guideline for transforming existing medical centers into trauma receiving hospitals to deal with patient overflow in the event of future civilian mass casualties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e31
StatePublished - 24 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


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