Far forward anesthesia and massive blood transfusion: Two cases revealing the challenge of damage control resuscitation in an austere environment

David Gaskin, Nicholas A. Kroll, Alyson A. Ochs, Martin A. Schreiber, Prakash K. Pandalai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Scopus citations


    Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the US military has treated more than 51,000 casualties and sustained more than 6,600 deaths. The past decade of conflict has solidified major advances in the use of blood component therapy and the liberal use of fresh whole blood during damage control resuscitation. This resuscitation strategy, combined with far forward damage control surgery, rapid aeromedical evacuation, and major improvements in critical care air transportation and personal protective equipment has led to a 90% to 92% survival rate in US casualties. We describe 2 cases treated by a Forward Surgical Team serving in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2014. Both patients suffered severe trauma and required massive blood transfusion and damage control surgery. In describing these 2 cases, we wish to share our experience with damage control resuscitation in an austere environment, as well as advocate for the critical role of the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in advancing the knowledge and execution of this lifesaving strategy in both military and civilian trauma centers. In addition, we suggest alternatives to the current transfusion strategy, which will mitigate limitations currently encountered.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)337-343
    Number of pages7
    JournalAANA journal
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



    • Damage control resuscitation
    • Forward surgical team
    • Fresh whole blood

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medical–Surgical
    • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
    • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

    Cite this