The hidden war: Humanitarian surgery in a combat zone

Christopher R. Porta, Richard Robins, Brian Eastridge, John Holcomb, Martin Schreiber, Matthew Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: Humanitarian surgical care (HSC) provided during wartime plays a substantial role in military operations, but has not been described or quantified beyond individual experiences. Methods: Prospective survey was conducted of all military members deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan between 2002 and 2011. Results: There were 266 responses. On average, surgeons had been in practice for 3 years at their 1st deployment and the majority were not fellowship trained. HSC was performed on all body systems and patient populations, including surgery for malignancy. Although 30% of responders performed surgeries they had never done before as a staff surgeon, 84% felt well prepared by their residency. The majority felt that performing HSC improved unit readiness (60%), benefited local population (64%), and contributed to counterinsurgency operations (54%). Conclusion: Over our 10-year period, hundreds of military surgeons performed countless HSC cases in Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority felt that HSC had numerous benefits.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)766-772
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican journal of surgery
    Volume207
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 2014

    Keywords

    • Afghanistan
    • Humanitarian aid
    • Humanitarian surgery
    • Iraq
    • Military combat

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery

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  • Cite this

    Porta, C. R., Robins, R., Eastridge, B., Holcomb, J., Schreiber, M., & Martin, M. (2014). The hidden war: Humanitarian surgery in a combat zone. American journal of surgery, 207(5), 766-772. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.12.027