Committee on Surgical Combat Casualty Care position statement on the use of single surgeon teams and invited commentaries

Jennifer M. Gurney, Shane D. Jensen, Brian J. Gavitt, Theodore D. Edson, Shaun R. Brown, Cord W. Cunningham, Brendon G. Drew, Matthew J. Eckert, Andrew B. Hall, John B. Holcomb, Brian S. Knipp, Richard N. Lesperance, Travis M. Polk, Martin A. Schreiber, Matthew D. Tadlock, Stacy A. Shackelford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND Over the last 20 years of war, there has been an operational need for far forward surgical teams near the point of injury. Over time, the medical footprint of these teams has decreased and the utilization of mobile single surgeon teams (SSTs) by the Services has increased. The increased use of SSTs is because of a tactical mobility requirement and not because of proven noninferiority of clinical outcomes. Through an iterative process, the Committee on Surgical Combat Casualty Care (CoSCCC) reviewed the utilization of SSTs and developed an expert-opinion consensus statement addressing the risks of SST utilization and proposed mitigation strategies. METHODS A small triservice working group of surgeons with deployment experience, to include SST deployments, developed a statement regarding the risks and benefits of SST utilization. The draft statement was reviewed by a working group at the CoSCCC meeting November 2021 and further refined. This was followed by an extensive iterative review process, which was conducted to ensure that the intended messaging was clear to senior medical leaders and operational commanders. The final draft was voted on by the entire CoSCCC membership. To inform the civilian trauma community, commentaries were solicited from civilian trauma leaders to help put this practice into context and to further the discussion in both military and civilian trauma communities. RESULTS After multiple revisions, the SST statement was finalized in January 2022 and distributed to the CoSCCC membership for a vote. Of 42 voting members, there were three nonconcur votes. The SST statement underwent further revisions to address CoSCCC voting membership comments. Statement commentaries from the President of the American Association for the Surgery for Trauma, the chair of the Committee on Trauma, the Medical Director of the Military Health System Strategic Partnership with the American College of Surgeons and a recently retired military surgeon we included to put this military relevant statement into a civilian context and further delineate the risks and benefits of including the trauma care paradigm in the Department of Defense (DoD) deployed trauma system. CONCLUSION The use of SSTs has a role in the operational environment; however, operational commanders must understand the tradeoff between tactical mobility and clinical capabilities. As SST tactical mobility increases, the ability of teams to care for multiple casualty incidents or provide sustained clinical operations decreases. The SST position statement is a communication tool to inform operational commanders and military medical leaders on the use of these teams on current and future battlefields.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)S6-S11
    JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
    Volume93
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 1 2022

    Keywords

    • austere surgical teams
    • Combat casualty care
    • deployment
    • forward surgical care
    • forward surgical teams
    • military trauma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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