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2016 marks first year of zero combat amputations since the start of the Afghan, Iraq wars

An analysis by the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report recently reported 2016 marks the first year without combat amputations since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. U.S. Armed Forces are at risk for traumatic amputations of limbs during combat deployments and other work hazards. (DoD photo) An analysis by the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report recently reported 2016 marks the first year without combat amputations since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. U.S. Armed Forces are at risk for traumatic amputations of limbs during combat deployments and other work hazards. (DoD photo)

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Amputations of upper and lower extremities profoundly alter the lives of both active duty and reserve components of U.S. Armed Forces. Our troops are at risk for traumatic amputations of limbs during combat deployments and other hazards such as motor vehicle accidents and falls. Moreover, the permanent disability results in restricted or lost duty time for military members.

Service members, such as 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell, who lost her left leg from a roadside bomb, “felt very lucky” to have only lost a limb as one of about a dozen U.S. troops in Iraq who suffered an amputation. But the year 2016 had good news for troops - it is the first year the U.S. military had no combat amputations of deployed troops since the Afghan, Iraq wars began. This was assessed recently in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR), a publication from the Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance (AFHSB), tracking amputations involving deployed troops by month since 2003.

To accurately track amputations, AFHSB breaks out by service in order to help military officials identify incidence, distribution, impact and trends. Col. Douglas Badzik, AFHSB chief said such analyses help provide “a force that is healthy and ready to carry out its mission.” Additionally, improvements in protective equipment and innovations in medical procedures and battlefield trauma care continue to strengthen force health protection of U.S. service members. For more details on this assessment, See the December 2016 issue of the MSMR. You also may be interested in reading amputation surveillance reports listed in the MSMR Index


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