Treatment of Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 in a US Military Role 3 Facility in Afghanistan: A Case Series

Katherine Banares, Luke Surry, Jamie Rand, Mary Stuever, Shawn Bishop, Erin Chicoine, Billy-Joe Liane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19, caused by SARS CoV-2, is an acute respiratory viral illness. We present the experience of treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in a Role 3 hospital in an active warzone. Methods: This is a retrospective care series of patients treated for COVID-19 at Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram, Afghanistan from May to August 2020. Data extracted included demographics, admission and disposition information, past medical history, comorbidities, Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) severity classification (i.e. Category A, Category B), and treatments received. Results:This series included 15 Category A and 55 Category B patients. Most patients were non-US contractors with one chronic condition. Most patients received medical treatments in accordance with Department of Defense Practice Management Guidelines. For Category A patients, mechanical ventilation use declined from a mean average of 10.67 days to 2.83 days following the introduction of high-flow nasal cannula. Average hospital length of stay was 6 days (range 2-23). One death occurred in a patient greater than 60 years old with three known prior medical conditions. Most patients were discharged to a non-medical isolation facility. Aeromedically evacuated patients were mostly US military and US contractors. Conclusion: We faced several challenges including retrofitting a Role 3 facility designed for trauma care for management of a highly contagious respiratory viral illness. Logistics constraints impacted timely delivery of medical therapies and equipment and decreased efficiency of aeromedical evacuation. Despite these challenges and the simultaneous trauma mission, most patients received medical care in accordance with treatment guidelines with a low mortality rate.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12—19
JournalThe Medical Journal
Issue numberPB 8-21-01/02/03
StatePublished - 2021


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