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West J Emerg Med. 2018 May;19(3):542-547. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2018.1.36233. Epub 2018 Mar 8.

Emergency Physicians at War.

Author information

University of Texas Health at San Antonio, Department of Emergency Medicine, San Antonio, Texas.
Uniformed Services University, Department of Military and Emergency Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.
University of Colorado Denver, Department of Pharmacology, Denver, Colorado.
San Antonio Military Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, San Antonio, Texas.


Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF-A) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) represent the first major, sustained wars in which emergency physicians (EPs) fully participated as an integrated part of the military's health system. EPs proved invaluable in the deployments, and they frequently used the full spectrum of trauma and medical care skills. The roles EPs served expanded over the years of the conflicts and demonstrated the unique skill set of emergency medicine (EM) training. EPs supported elite special operations units, served in medical command positions, and developed and staffed flying intensive care units. EPs have brought their combat experience home to civilian practice. This narrative review summarizes the history, contributions, and lessons learned by EPs during OEF-A/OIF and describes changes to daily clinical practice of EM derived from the combat environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors, and do not represent the official policy or position of the Uniformed Services University, Department of Defense, or the United States Government. There are no conflicts of interest or sources of funding to declare.

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