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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2009 Oct;91(7):551-8. doi: 10.1308/003588409X464720.

Penetrating missile injuries during the Iraqi insurgency.

Author information

1
Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK. arul49@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the conflict has evolved from asymmetric warfare to a counter-insurgency operation. This study investigates the pattern of wounding and types of injuries seen in casualties of hostile action presenting to a British military field hospital during the present conflict.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Data were prospectively collected on 100 consecutive patients either injured or killed from hostile action from January 2006 who presented to the sole coalition field hospital in southern Iraq.

RESULTS:

Eighty-two casualties presented with penetrating missile injuries from hostile action. Three subsequently died of wounds (3.7%). Forty-six (56.1%) casualties had their initial surgery performed by British military surgeons. Twenty casualties (24.4%) sustained gunshot wounds, 62 (75.6%) suffered injuries from fragmentation weapons. These 82 casualties were injured in 55 incidents (mean, 1.49 casualties; range 1-6 casualties) and sustained a total 236 wounds (mean, 2.88 wounds) affecting a mean 2.4 body regions per patient. Improvised explosive devices were responsible for a mean 2.31 casualties (range, 1-4 casualties) per incident.

CONCLUSIONS:

The current insurgency in Iraq illustrates the likely evolution of modern, low-intensity, urban conflict. Improvised explosive devices employed against both military and civilian targets have become a major cause of injury. With the current global threat from terrorist bombings, both military and civilian surgeons should be aware of the spectrum and emergent management of the injuries caused by these weapons.

PMID:
19833014
PMCID:
PMC2966158
DOI:
10.1308/003588409X464720
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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